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Government and Community Relations

University Resources Government Information

Pennsylvania's State -Related Institutions of Higher Learning:Moving the Commonwealth Forward

Each year,Pennsylvania's four state - related universities - Penn State University, the University of Pittsburgh, Temple, and Lincoln 5 provide outstanding higher education to 170,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 150,000 of whom are Pennsylvania residents. These four state-related institutions also represent the largest non-governmental employer in Pennsylvania, with more than 68,000 full- and part-time employees (faculty and staff) throughout Pennsylvania. Thus, in addition to the role these public institutions play in educating the next generation of Pennsylvania's leaders,they are key players and economic engines in their communities and in the state. When taking into consideration tuition, combined with spending by students, faculty, staff and visitors, these institutions have a far-reaching, powerful economic impact on the Commonwealth.

The critical impact these institutions have on Pennsylvania's economy is detailed on the attached chart (Attachment 1). Pennsylvania's public research universities attract more than $1.7 billion dollars of research funding annually from outside of the Commonwealth. Those research dollars alone support nearly 60,000 jobs. The combined research force of these institutions is a major asset to Pennsylvania on the national and international level.

In pointing the way toward economic growth and recovery, as well as providing top-notch education to countless students, the state-related universities represent a tremendous investment for the state and its citizens.

Economic Impact :

As primary providers of high quality higher education in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics ("STEM"), the state-related institutions have helped to advance the Commonwealth and made vital contributions to its economy. These fields provide the basis for individuals to advance and succeed in the "new economy".Beyond tuition,the economic impact of these institutions includes direct and indirect spending for goods and services by its employees, students and visitors and research expenditures in excess of $13 billion. These dollars support local business, which employ local individuals to sell goods and provide services to the state-related universities. In addition:

Medicine HealthCare:

The three public research universities (Pitt, Penn State and Temple) provide major contributions in the areas of medical training, research and health care. In this highly challenged economy, the companion strengths of these institutions are key to the role that health care also plays in the Commonwealth's economic stability and growth.For example:

Appropriations :

The recent appropriation history for the four state-related universities illustrates the very difficult funding environment faced by these institutions despite their positive impact on the Commonwealth. State funding for the four state-related universities has stagnated over the past ten years. The attached graph (Attachment 2) demonstrates that even during extremely difficult economic times, state spending in general, particularly in basic education, continued to grow at a very healthy rate, while funding for higher education was flat during this same period. Attachment 2 also shows that during a period of time when education spending and the overall state budget grew dramatically, higher education's share of the total education funding decreased considerably. The deficit currently facing the Commonwealth clearly is not a result of increased appropriations to the state-related universities.

The resulting impact of this "lost decade" of funding for the state-related institutions of higher education has been well-documented. In order to preserve the quality of their programs (including degrees that are critical to Pennsylvania's present and future economy),Pennsylvania's public research universities,were forced to replace the state funding with higher-than-desired tuition increases.Pennsylvania's other non-research based public institutions chose to limit tuition increases, and are now being forced to eliminate numerous degree programs that they can no longer afford to offer. Both of these situations are a direct result of shifting funding away from public higher education.

The state-related universities have only two sources to fund their annual operating budgets: tuition and Commonwealth appropriations. Other revenue sources, such as endowments, are restricted funds normally limited to specified purposes directed by donors that cannot be used for operating budgets. In the wake of flat Commonwealth funding over the course of the last ten years, tuition costs have increased significantly due to the continued increased costs (utilities, security and insurance rates, health care and related benefits, as well as an anticipated spike funding for the state retirement system for Penn State, combined with escalating price increases for technology and library holdings required by research universities). Although each university has instituted cost control measures 5 including a salary freeze in the 2008-09 fiscal year 5 they remain among the highest level of tuition rates for public universities in the nation. Any significant erosion of current appropriation levels would result in tuition and fee increases that would significantly restrict access to the high quality education programs (including STEM- related programs) are now available to Pennsylvanian's citizens.The end result would be a negative outcome for Pennsylvania students and for the Commonwealth's economic future.The only other option would be a diminishing of the quality of programming offered at each institution 5 which would have a similar adverse affect on the quality of education programs available to Pennsylvania residents.

The state-related institutions also rely on Commonwealth funding to supply numerous direct services to Pennsylvania citizens. With the impending loss of federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds, the state-related institutions are at a critical point in time when renewed investment in Pennsylvania's public resarch universities ins essential in order to keep high quality higher education opportunities available and affordable for Pennsylvania students and their families, and to preserve and enhance the vital economic engines that these universities represent.

The positive economic impact, research prowess and intellectual capital generated by these research powerhouses cannot be taken for granted. The contributions in medicine, health care, energy research (including the Marcellus Shale), agriculture and national security are real but cannot be sustained without adequate and predictable Commonwealth investment. Although every sector has been affected by the struggling economy, the state-related research universities are vital to the Commonwealth's ability to withstand these difficult times and to thrive in the new high-tech economy high-tech economy.

2010 Profile of Pennsylvania's Public Research Universities

The Pennsylvania State University,University of Pittsburgh and Temple University

Student Data
Total Enrollment (Fall 2010) 169,000
Undergraduate 134,000
Graduate/Medical/Law 33,000
Enrollments in STEM Majors (Fall 2010) 42,000
Engineering 18,000
Other Programs (Excluding Education) 24,000
Annual Degrees Awarded (2009-2010) 35,000
Associate 2,300
Baccalaureate 25,000
Graduate/Medical/Law 9,200
Employees - Total (November 2010) 68,000
Alumni Total (2010) 1,206,000
Alumni Residing in Pennsylvania 660,756
Financial Data ( Fiscal Year 2010)
Total Operating Budgets $6.9 Billion
State Appropriation for Operations(Includes Federal Stimulus Funds) $688 Million
State Appropriation as a Percentage of the Total Operating Budgets 9.8%
Research (2009-10)
Total R&D Expenditures $1.7 Billion
Federal R&D Expenditures $1.2 Billion
Industry-Sponsored R&D Expenditures $123.4 Million
Economic Impact - Total Operations (2008) $13.44 Billion

The image is a Line Chart with Year along the X axis and Cumulative percent change of State and State-Related Budget along the Y axis

Chart Description:

The image is a line chart with the Year 2000 to 2011 along the X axis and Cumulative Percent change along the Y axis.There are two plots one is the State Budget and the other is State-Related.From the data the State budget is at 41.2% including stimulus funds and the State-Related is at 4.3% including Stimulus funds.

Commonwealth of PA General Funds Budget,and Appropriations to State-Related Universities Cumulative Percent Change from 2000-01 to 2010-11

Year State-Budget
(Cumulative Percent Change)
(Cumulative Percent Change)
2000-2001 0 0
2001-2002 2 -1
2002-2003 2 -4
2003-2004 10 -8
2004-2005 16 -4
2005-2006 24 -1
2006-2007 32 2
2007-2008 36 5
2008-2009 42 5
2009-2010 40 5
2010-2011 41 5

For Printing Purposes: Access to Moving the Commonwealth Forward PDF