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For seventh straight year, USF on receiving end of record funds

At $254.8 million, USF received the largest contracts and most grants statewide in the 2002-03 school year, surpassing its goal of $230 million and breaking its own record in research funding for the seventh consecutive year.

“The federal funding is from the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation and the Department of Education. It’s a whole variety of federal grants and agencies that gives us money; it’s where the different colleges apply,” USF President Judy Genshaft said.

The Health Sciences Center brought in the largest amount at $119.6-million, followed by the College of Medicine with $87.7 million.

Genshaft said the College of Nursing had an astonishing increase of 83 percent for last year’s total with $2.4 million.

USF is No. 2 in the state, following the University of Florida, in the amount of federal funding given.

“It is important to students because when you have a research university, professors who conduct the research bring in the latest results into their class in terms of their teaching,” Genshaft said. “They are the most up–to–date in terms of science and in all of their scholarships.”

Board of Trustees chairman Dick Beard said in the BOT meeting Thursday he was happy to see the increase as well.

“I was floored by the announcement that we had gone from 200 million last year to 250 million this year in sponsored research grants, which is a huge move in that area,” Beard said. “We are making progress at USF.”

Genshaft added that the students are getting the top-of-the-line-teaching, as well as being able to participate in research labs here at USF.

“There isn’t any particular award that you get for bringing in the research grants, but it brings you higher in the national ranking,” she said.

We are among the 100 top institutions in the country, and that is good because there are 4,000 institutes of higher education in the country.”

Genshaft said the specific goals that want to be reached using this funding depend on the different colleges and what they are researching at the time.

“This is really a very, very important marker for our university and how well our university is doing on a national level and a statewide level. This really continues to show how USF is ranked in the top tier of research institutions,” Genshaft said.

Genshaft said the professors at USF are trained not only to teach but also to research, and those who bring in grants are rewarded with recognition. Genshaft said they are viewed as the most productive.

“I am very proud of the faculty at this university, and I am proud of the progress that we have made,” she said.

In addition to the news about the funding for research, student enrollment at USF this year was not affected by the budget cuts last year. Across USF’s four campuses enrollment reached approximately 40,000 for the first day of school.

“We all went through a pretty difficult time last year when the Legislature didn’t fund a lot of things that we felt they should fund, and I don’t expect any better for this year. So it’s going to be tight, but we are working on things that we can control,” Beard said.

Beard added that USF didn’t deny access for incoming students in spite of budget cuts.

“There has been some discussion in the newspapers on whether the universities should take on additional students, but we found ways to do it through some ways and we have not limited access to this university,” Beard said.

Genshaft said the first-time-in-college student enrollment increased 11 percent for USF Tampa campus, USF Lakeland increased more than 14 percent and USF Sarasota/Manatee went up 18 percent. In addition, USF ranked the second largest transfer school in the nation and transfers went up more than 1 percent this year.

To compensate for the growth, Genshaft said USF hired 199 new faculty members.

However, she said this trend won’t be able to continue with the lack of funds.

“We aren’t going to be able to continue at that rate of growth without the resources and funding,” Genshaft said.