Among the big winners in the 2014-15 state budget signed by Gov. Rick Scott on Monday is the University of South Florida, which picked up funding for a number of projects that still needed support.
According to USF News, all five of the university's top legislative priorities were met.
1. Establish and invest in the Florida Center for Cybersecurity, principally located at USF.
The newly created Florida Center for Cybersecurity was established within USF, and $5 million in recurring funds were allocated to USF to support the center’s operations and USF’s new cybersecurity initiatives.
2. Provide funding toward completing construction of the USF Health Heart Institute.
$15 million was allocated toward the construction cost of the Heart Institute. This $15 million is combined with nearly $20 million received during the previous two legislative sessions.
3. Provide funding toward completing construction of the USF St. Petersburg College of Business facility.
$10 million was allocated toward the construction cost of the USFSP College of Business. This funding, combined with the $5 million received last year, provides sufficient funding to break ground this year.
4. Invest in continued development of USF Sarasota-Manatee’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) programs and STEM faculty hiring.
$1.4 million in new recurring funds was allocated to USFSM to hire additional STEM faculty and to expand the campus' STEM programs in partnership with Mote Marine Laboratory. This funding represents a more than 10% increase in state funds for USFSM next year.
5. Guarantee all U.S. military veterans the right to pay the in-state resident tuition rate.
The Congressman C.W. Bill Young Tuition Waiver Program was passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in March. The program will allow honorably discharged veterans to pay the in-state tuition rate at state universities, regardless of how long they’ve lived in Florida.
In addition, other priorities received support, including the new Morsani College of Medicine facility ($5 million), the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer's Institute ($1.25 million in support, along with another $850,000 to the university to help veterans, including those affected by PTSD), the Florida Institute of Oceanography (also $1.25 million in support), and USFSM's Small Business Development Center and the Center for Partnerships for Arts-Integrated Teaching (PAInT).
“We are thankful our state leaders are making a significant investment in our state university system which will pay dividends for decades to come,” said USF System President Judy Genshaft. “The USF System will benefit from additional funding that will support our students, help us maintain our campus infrastructure and expand our scientific and research capacity.”