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This is the 3rd July meeting for which I’ve been state APSCUF president. I’ve spoken the last two Julys about tuition; you won’t be surprised today that I’m speaking about it again. In fact, since you probably read all my messages to faculty, you probably know what I’m going to say.

We all know the legislature passed the Governor’s budget which flat funded us this year. This was expected and we can spin it as positive when many agencies took up to 10% cuts. But that number doesn’t take into account our 4% increase in students last year or the HEPI of 3% last year. Where this leaves us is with a gap of $48 million you saw on the screen yesterday.

Yesterday Mr. Jarin said that only once in his tenure on the Board had they filled that gap. With five schools having announced the possibility of faculty layoffs, and one consequence I’m told of approving the Finance Committee’s 4.5% increase would be that a sixth will quickly go on the list, it’s clear that this strategy has starved the schools of resources. The presidents will tell you how much bone they’ll have to cut without filling the $48 million gap; they’ll also tell you that they don’t hear parents or students saying that the $80 difference between 4.5% and 6% is a difference that will keep them from accessing our quality education.

We have student numbers increasing and we have kept tuition down to the lowest rates in the country the last five years. Meanwhile, our competitors have increased their tuitions by over $600 a year.

So, I admonish you to do the responsible thing. Amend the Finance Committee’s recommendation and fill the whole gap — it won’t hurt this year, makes next year’s hard decisions easier, and allows the universities the opportunity to provide the full educational experience they have been promised.