University of Delaware President Patrick Harker outlined the university’s budget requests before the Joint Finance Committee today in Dover.
President Harker presented a request for just over $2 million in operating budget funds for FY 2014.
Nearly half of the requested money, $930,000 is for utility costs for the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (ISE) lab currently under construction on the college campus.
The state-of-the-art ISE lab will provide more space for the schools growing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs and makes the university more competitive for business collaboration opportunities and grants.
“We have to have the capacity to teach the science and engineering courses that prepare a competitive STEM workforce, and that invite investment and collaboration from public and private partners,” said Harker.
While the lab was designed with several power saving features, Harker said STEM education, in general, uses a lot of energy and the money requested would help offset some of the cost of running the facility.
“That’s only a portion of the utility cost, it’s a significant investment for the university and if we have to we’ll find the money by not doing some other things that are important,” said Harker.
Construction on the building is scheduled to be completed this spring and students will begin using the facility in the fall.
The second largest portion of the budget request, $821,000, is to help with the school’s growing Commitment to Delawareans program.
Started in 2009, the commitment program caps in-state students total education debt at one-quarter the cost of a UD education.
For FY 2014, the university expects to provide aid to roughly 2,400 resident students, totaling $15.6 million.
Harker also requested just over $300,000 for Cooperative Extension programs and to support the Carvel Research and Education Center.
Cooperative Extension includes many agriculture research programs including production ag, urban ag and ag literacy. It also sponsors Delaware 4-H.
“4-H has been an incredible gift to this state in terms of helping students not only do well academically trough the after school programs but find themselves, find a passion and get interested in nature and in our environment,” said Harker. “These are really important things for the state. In addition to that of course, Cooperative Extension just helps the agriculture community here in the state which is also a very important part not just of our economy but the history and the heritage of the state of Delaware.”
Harker said the university is “grateful” that there were no funding reductions to the university in Governor Jack Markell’s recently released FY 2014 budget proposal and the requests made to the JFC are additions to the proposal, should any extra funds become available.