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USF to share $8.5M in collaborative grants


As the House and Senate finalize their budget plans, USF received news from the Board of Governors last week that will result in the university receiving portions of $8.5 million in grant money to be shared with UCF and FIU in two collaborations.

After the university aligned itself with UCF and FIU — two of the more prominent research universities in the state, excluding the University of Florida and Florida State University, which last year counted as “pre-eminent” for receiving additional funding from the BOG — in consortiums to generate more graduates in Information Technology and accounting.

The BOG granted four collaborative grants, totaling $15 million. The grants will come in addition to performance-based funding, which is poised to have an increased level of importance in allocating resources this year to universities as a larger portion of the funding allocated to the State University System will be based on performance.

While the House of Representatives proposed allocating $60 million in new money to be split up this way, compared to the $20 million allocated last year, the Senate proposed divvying up $200 million based on performance — $100 million in new money and $100 million from funds previously allocated to universities’ base budgets.

Last year, USF and UCF tied for the highest level of performance-based funding based on the three metrics used. This year, according to Senior Vice Provost Dwayne Smith, USF is poised for scoring the second highest after UF, using the potential 10 metric system that has been discussed by the Board, though it is yet to be finalized.

Smith said USF will be requesting $7 million for the Cybersecurity program, $15 million for the completion of the seventh floor of the Interdisciplinary Sciences building, $20 million for a College of Business building at USF St. Pete and $1 million for STEM enrollment initiatives at the Sarasota-Manatee campus.

The House of Representatives’ plan released Friday includes $14.7 million for the University of South Florida’s Heart Health Institute and Interdisciplinary Sciences building and $9.7 million for the College of Business building, while the Senate’s plan includes $13 million for the College of Business building, but no additional funding for other projects.

The House and Senate Appropriations Committees will continue discussions this week.


— Staff report