Posted March 5, 2015

Theobald praises Gov. Wolf's support for Temple University

Gov. Tom Wolf's new budget plan marks the beginning of a new relationship between the commonwealth and its public universities, noted Temple President Neil D. Theobald.

Temple University President Neil D. Theobald praised Gov. Tom Wolf's budget plan, which would increase Temple’s appropriation by $15.44 million, the first increase in four years. Temple’s funding has remained flat at $139.9 million since 2011. Wolf unveiled his budget on Tuesday.

Theobald said the governor's proposal marks the beginning of a new relationship between the commonwealth and its public universities. Wolf had made it clear during his campaign that increased support for public education was one of his top priorities.

"We are grateful for the governor's investment in public higher education in Pennsylvania," said Theobald. "The restored funds in the governor's proposal—if approved by the General Assembly—will go directly to helping us hold down tuition and recruit the best faculty."

More than 70 percent of Temple's students come from the commonwealth, he noted.

"Temple University, like the other state-related schools in the commonwealth, has been flat funded since 2011," Theobald said. "Despite this, we've worked hard to hold down tuition and keep a high-quality Temple education both accessible and affordable."

Base tuition at Temple University has been held to an average 2.4 percent increase over the last three years.

Theobald has also instituted the Fly in 4 initiative, which encourages students to graduate in four years and limit their college debt. The initiative has been very popular, with 88 percent of entering freshmen signing the Fly in 4 agreement last fall.

In addition to Temple's commonwealth appropriation, the governor announced support for a new collaborative. Wolf set aside $5 million for an effort among seven universities, including Temple, aimed at accelerating advanced manufacturing research and commercialization.

Joining Temple in the initiative are Carnegie Mellon University, Drexel University, Lehigh University, Penn State University, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pennsylvania. The collaborative, which has been under discussion for more than two years, aims to build a bridge between research universities and the state's next generation of manufacturing startups.

The governor's budget proposal now goes to the state General Assembly for consideration.

The next step for Temple will be public hearings before the House and Senate appropriations committees. Those hearings are scheduled for March 24.

The commonwealth appropriation being discussed now is for the budget year that begins July 1. The appropriation is used for the operations of the university and not for construction projects, which are funded separately.