President Barron Addresses Students About End Of Budget Impasse
President Eric Barron and other administratorsaddressed the end of the Pennsylvania budget impasse and the five percent funding increase Penn State received in an email sent to the student body Monday evening:
Dear members of the Penn State community,
As you may have heard, a bill that includes increased funding for Penn State for the 2015-2016 budget year soon will become law. After a months-long impasse, under the budget deal the University will receive a 5 percent increase in its general support appropriation, from $214.1 million to $224.8 million. The budget also includes $50.5 million for Penn State’s Agricultural Research and Extension programs.
This is great news for Penn State and other state-related universities that had faced the previously unthinkable possibility of operating with no appropriation from the Commonwealth. The budget stalemate and resulting financial uncertainty had forced us to ask challenging questions and to undertake dispiriting preparatory exercises across the University, and we are relieved that we no longer have to execute some contingency plans that would have harmed Penn State irreparably.
During the past few months, many of you were involved in meetings, discussions, and other efforts to prepare for the worst, and throughout this period we nevertheless experienced Penn State at its best. You took great responsibility for what we needed to contemplate—and potentially do—to minimize the impact of not only the protracted budget stalemate, but also the very real possibility of receiving no state funding. Under duress, you acted respectfully and with integrity, and continued to focus on excellence and our community’s needs. You came together in meaningful ways to support Penn State, all the while knowing that your hard work still might not yield the result we needed. You remained steadfastly committed to the mission of our University.
If there ever has been a perfect example of Penn Staters living the University’s values, this experience was it. Faculty, staff, students, alumni, volunteers, and others—including major efforts from Extension staff and supporters in the agricultural community—all helped and sustained Penn State through this difficult period. It drove a positive outcome and positioned Penn State well for success going forward. You are the heart of this institution, enabling Penn State to continue to reach new heights as one of the world’s premier research universities.
Despite bipartisan support within state government of funding for higher education, substantial differences of opinion remain about how to address the Commonwealth’s budgetary needs, and Penn State may face future challenges. We will remain vigilant in advocating for the importance of our University to the Commonwealth, and do so buoyed by the Penn State community’s strength and support.
We are extraordinarily proud not only of your recent efforts on the University’s behalf, but also of how you engaged in them. You are Penn State, and we are truly humbled and honored to serve you every day.
Eric J. Barron
Nicholas P. Jones
Executive Vice President and Provost
David J. Gray
Senior Vice President for Finance & Busines