March 5: President Genshaft Details Progress on State Budget

To: USF Community
From: Judy Genshaft, President USF System


During the past month we have seen a profound outpouring of support for the University of South Florida and the USF System. We have argued for fairness in the state budget of Florida, and we have achieved that because of your help.


With emails, calls and letters, our friends have accomplished much. USF has remained strong.


Today, the Florida House and Senate have agreed on the state budget. After a "cooling off" period, the Florida Legislature is expected to vote by Friday and send that budget to Gov. Rick Scott for his signature. These agreements are contingent on the governor's approval.


The most important elements from today:


- We now anticipate full funding of $6 million for our new College of Pharmacy.
- We expect financial help with any transition to an independent Polytechnic University – USF Polytechnic's students would be able to graduate from USF under an orderly 5-year transition plan.
- We pushed for equitable funding, and while there will be significant cuts to all of Florida's universities, those cuts will be made equitably.


My concern throughout this process has been the treatment of our students, faculty and staff. We fought to ensure that our students would be cared for. I believe today's agreement does that.


In addition, we have received support to launch a heart institute at USF Health, an innovative and collaborative initiative to raise the level of health care in the region.


My sincere thanks go to House Speaker-Designate Will Weatherford, Senators Jim Norman, Arthenia Joyner, and Jack Latvala, and the entire Tampa Bay legislative delegation, from all 8 counties, for fighting to ensure that the USF System was treated fairly. Our thanks to House member Seth McKeel, for looking out for our students at USF Polytechnic and allowing them to remain in Lakeland to finish their USF degrees.


And to each of you, thank you again for your voices. All of you have made it possible for the USF System, and all of our students and employees, to continue to achieve greatness and to continue to pursue our goals. You made a huge difference.