University of Pittsburgh
September 21, 1999


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 22 -- The University of Pittsburgh has submitted a proposal for its 2000-01 state appropriation to the Pennsylvania Education Department which addresses the level of Commonwealth support that Pitt needs "to sustain programs at their current level of excellence and to remain competitive with research universities in other states."

Citing the key role that research universities will play in the 21st century economy, Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg emphasized that Pitt is proud of its

212-year partnership with Pennsylvania. "That relationship has yielded extraordinary benefits for Pennsylvania and its citizens, and we know that even more will be expected of our partnership in the years ahead," he said. "Meeting those expectations is directly dependent upon an adequate and predictable investment on the part of the Commonwealth. As we enter the new millennium together, our partnership will play an even more central role in Pennsylvania's stated quest to be 'a leader among states and a competitor among nations'."

For the upcoming fiscal year, Pitt is requesting an increase of $8.1 million, or

5 percent, in its base appropriation. "Our base appropriation is the funding source that allows us to sustain and enhance our excellence," Nordenberg said. "In the past several years, the Governor and the General Assembly have demonstrated their recognition of the critical role that research universities play in strengthening Pennsylvania's competitiveness. Our ability to continue to contribute to the Commonwealth's competitive edge is predicated on a solid and predictable investment in the institution itself."

Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg expressed his concern that other states are surpassing Pennsylvania in the level of support they are providing for higher education. "In recent years, Pennsylvania's investment in higher education has been far more generous than it was earlier in the decade, but it is clearly lagging behind that of adjacent states, and particularly those states with which we are most likely to compete," Nordenberg said.

Pitt recently analyzed increases in higher education funding for 12 states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Michigan and Illinois, between

FY 1996 and FY 1999. The average cumulative increase in the other states commitment to higher education during that period was 18.5 percent, virtually double Pennsylvania's overall increase of 9.3 percent.

In addition to the increase in the base appropriation, Pitt is requesting funding for three special initiatives, which Nordenberg said will "position the University, its graduates and the Commonwealth as 21st century leaders." The initiatives are:

• Information Technology for the 21st Century – development and implementation of a comprehensive information technology strategy that will allow the University to replace and upgrade its core technology infrastructure, provide state-of-the-art instructional facilities, and expand central file storage capability.

• Laboratory Improvements and Equipment, Phase II – continued laboratory renovation and procurement of state-of-the-art equipment in those disciplines that have the greatest potential to contribute new knowledge, new products, and innovations for the 21st century economy.

• Preparing Graduates for the 21st Century – curricular and programmatic enhancements to ensure that all Pitt students graduate with a set of competencies that prepare them for work and civic leadership in an information age.

Pitt's budget submission also indicates that receipt of the requested increase in appropriations would allow the University to hold increases in undergraduate tuition for in-state students to no more than 4 percent, and also provide a 4 percent increase in the salary pool.