Dear USF community,
Earlier this afternoon, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the state budget for fiscal year 2022-23 into law. We are incredibly grateful to the Legislature for enacting, and to the governor for approving, the most transformative budget in University of South Florida history, including the largest single-year investment in operational support that USF has ever received. These investments will help USF progress toward our strategic goals, including investing in student and faculty success, building our research profile, making a greater impact on the community and ultimately support our quest toward becoming a Top 25 public university.
Specifically, the governor approved the following legislative appropriations to USF that were subject to his line-item veto authority:
- A $55 million recurring increase to USF's operational budget, including new funds for all three campuses and USF Health.
- $37 million to Cyber Florida at USF to conduct a cybersecurity vulnerability assessment for the state, develop recommendations for improvement, and oversee training of state and local government employees against cyber intrusions.
- $20.5 million for cybersecurity workforce development, research and simulation activities at USF.
- $33 million to remodel critical USF Health facilities to add capacity for more nursing students and add state-of-the-art new simulation equipment.
- $7 million to expand nursing programs at USF to address statewide nursing shortages.
- $5 million to operate the Florida Center for Nursing at USF’s College of Nursing, a center dedicated to growing the state’s nursing workforce.
- $72.8 million to invest in the maintenance and repair of existing USF facilities across the three campuses.
- $3 million to plan for construction of the new Nursing/STEM Building at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, the campus’ first new state-funded facility in over 15 years.
- $6.3 million to invest in campus life facility projects across USF’s three campuses, funded by the Capital Improvement Trust Fund (CITF).
- $5.5 million to fund the operations of the Florida Flood Hub for Applied Research and Innovation at the USF College of Marine Science in St. Petersburg.
- $500,000 to study the effectiveness of hyperbaric chamber therapy for veterans experiencing PTSD.
While so many of our priorities were approved today, we did receive some line-item vetoes. Unfortunately, the $75 million to construct the new Environmental & Oceanographic Science Research & Teaching facility at the St. Petersburg campus was vetoed. We remain committed to the development of our USF St. Petersburg campus and our goals to increase the campus' international prominence as a hub for environmental and oceanographic research and scholarship. Many of the programmatic funding increases approved today will help us achieve those goals, and we look forward to working with the Legislature and the governor in the future to secure facilities and infrastructure funding necessary to support this important effort. We also want to sincerely thank the St. Petersburg community for their leadership and strong partnership and advocacy for this initiative.
Also vetoed was $306,176 to fund the USF St. Petersburg YMCA Citizen Scholar Partnership, which is a partnership between USF and the YMCA Youth in Government program.
Again, we are very grateful to Gov. DeSantis for his support of this historic budget for USF and our legislative leaders, Senate President Wilton Simpson and USF alum and Speaker of the House Chris Sprowls, for their unwavering support of the mission and success of USF. Fiscal year 2022-23 will be transformational for all of USF thanks to their efforts and generous support.
Rhea F. Law