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University Beat

USF Escapes Serious Damage From Gov. DeSantis' Veto Ax

USF St. Petersburg
Nicole Slaughter Graham
WUSF Public Media
A pair of projects at USF St. Petersburg was vetoed by Gov. Ron DeSantis when he signed the budget for the new fiscal year on June 29.

When Governor Ron DeSantis cut $1 billion from the state's budget earlier this week, included in his vetoes was just over $800,000 for a trio of University of South Florida projects.

Getting the ax were $300,000 for a USF St. Petersburg citizen scholarship program for younger students, $260,413 for the Center for Innovation on that campus, and $250,000 for a partnership between USF and Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.

READ MORE: See What Tampa Bay Area Items Were Vetoed By Gov. DeSantis

Mark Walsh, USF's executive director of government relations, said that while the vetoes hurt, the university still picked up in the neighborhood of $656 million in funds it was seeking this fiscal year.

“The governor approved about 99.9% of the appropriations provided to USF in the budget, so we're very grateful for that,” said Walsh. “You never like to see things vetoed, and we'd like to think everything we do is important and adds value, but it's a very, very difficult circumstance the governor is dealing with, and overall, he was very gracious to USF.”

Walsh says university officials are already looking at ways to make up for the shortfall.

“We think those are all critical programs, and we want to make sure that it's possible to continue our partnership with All Children's and look for other revenue sources that we could do that,” he said.

“And the St. Petersburg campus, they were the recipient of and the governor signed some additional funding in their operational base, so that might be an avenue of being able to fund those programs.”

The school was also shielded from a cut of $15 million to the state's Universities of Distinction award. That funding goes to schools that don't have preeminent status like USF does.

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