USF sees largest recurring increase to operational budget in 2023-24 state budget

Though the university saw the largest operational budget increase in its history, Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed a $20 million appropriation for the construction of an Academic Nursing STEM facility on the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the 2023-24 fiscal year state budget on Thursday morning, providing USF with a “transformational” budget for construction and research on the three campuses, according to a universitywide email sent by President Rhea Law.

However, the university also saw big losses with vetoes to significant budget cuts towards the university. Among these was a $20 million appropriation which would pay for some costs of the construction of the new Academic Nursing STEM facility on the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, which is currently in its final design phases.

This year’s $63.3 million recurring increase to the operational budget – compared to last year’s recurring increase of $55 million – is the largest budget increase in USF’s history, according to the email. This operational budget will support all three USF campuses and USF Health.

Besides the operational budget, the 2023-24 fiscal year state budget includes:

  • $24.3 million to fund a new Environmental and Oceanographic Sciences Research and Teaching facility on the USF St. Pete campus.
  • $14 million for a clinical trial of hyperbaric oxygen therapy’s medical effectiveness in treating PTSD and traumatic brain injuries among veterans and active-duty military service members.
  • $6.5 million to go towards campus life facility projects.
  • $3 million to buy and install a new MRI machine for brain research and diagnostic purposes.

USF is also expected to receive a $14.7 million increase in performance-based funding in the next Board of Governors meeting from June 21-22. 

The governor also vetoed a $2.9 million grant for the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy to develop simulation modeling tools that will improve responses and treatments for opioid use and overdoses.

Despite these cuts, Law wrote that the funding will help USF achieve some of its goals and ambitions, with one of them being solidified recently as the university joined the American Association of Universities.

“This transformational funding will help us continue to excel in student and faculty success, grow our research profile, make a greater impact on the Tampa Bay region and the state of Florida, support our quest to become a top 25 public university and our position as a new member of the Association of American Universities,” Law wrote.