The nature of the universities’ funding requests was not accurately described in the Nov. 30 Arizona Capitol Times article “Universities, agencies seek major spending hikes.” While the article accurately reports the total of the system’s fiscal year 2014 request, it is misleading to suggest that the universities are requesting a 29 percent budget increase.
Much of the request is one-time funding for specific initiatives that would not create a permanent requirement for budget support. The university system request for ongoing support is a more modest 11.6 percent.
At Arizona State University, the request for a permanent increase in the budget is 10.9 percent, and is comprised of two investment components, both of which are required by legislation.
The first is for slightly less than $12 million to continue the correction of a long-standing disparity in funding levels among the universities. The second represents a new funding structure that invests based on outcomes rather than solely for growth — performance funding of $22.3 million.
ASU has also requested two one-time investments for FY 2014 that do not create a continuing obligation from the state. The initiatives include advancing the development of learning technology platforms, which have produced substantial improvement in our students’ math performance, as well as a one-time capital investment in Hayden Library renovation and repurposing. These investments total $42.9 million.
The universities have a clear understanding of the state budget situation, and have tailored our requests for funding accordingly. It is critical that the governor and Legislature understand our needs and have a chance to evaluate them thoughtfully and thoroughly. Investment in higher education to support the successful production of more new graduates and increased research volume is critical in the drive to make Arizona a state of choice for employers and an economic engine for our future.
— Steve Miller, deputy vice president, public affairs, ASU.