The University of South Florida will receive a significant increase in recurring operating funds and several high-priority university projects will move forward, after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the state budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year on Thursday.
This year’s budget represents the largest operational budget increase in USF history, building on last year’s record-breaking legislative session for USF.
“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,” USF President Rhea Law said. “We are incredibly grateful to the Florida Legislature for enacting, and to Gov. DeSantis for approving a budget that supports USF’s success.”
Among the items in this year’s budget:
- A $63.3 million recurring increase to USF’s operational budget to support the work
of each of USF’s three campuses and USF Health. A large portion of this increase was
funded through a new $100 million recurring investment in the state’s Preeminent State
Research Universities Program, which was split equally between the three preeminent
institutions, USF, University of Florida and Florida State University.
- $24.3 million to fund the first phase of planning and construction of a new Environmental
and Oceanographic Sciences Research and Teaching facility on the USF St. Petersburg
campus. This facility will enhance St. Petersburg as a world-class center of marine
and environmental science, education and community engagement.
- $14 million to conduct a state-funded comprehensive 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 invest in campus life facility projects funded through the state’s
Capital Improvement Trust Fund.
- $3 million to complete the acquisition and installation of a new functional MRI (fMRI) machine for brain research and diagnostic purposes. fMRI measures activity in different parts of the brain during mental and physical tasks, and is a critical tool that will expand research grant opportunities for USF faculty and students.
The budget approved by the governor also includes an $85 million increase to the state’s investment in university performance-based funding (PBF). This is expected to result in a $14.7 million increased PBF award for USF for FY 2023-24 when the Board of Governors votes to distribute the funding next week.
While this was another highly successful state budget for USF, the governor did exercise his line-item veto authority to remove several USF projects from the state budget for next year. The vetoes include a $20 million appropriation to help pay for the construction costs of the new Academic Nursing STEM facility on the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, a project which received $3 million in last year’s state budget.
Also vetoed was $2.9 million for the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy at USF to lead a collaboration to develop simulation modeling tools that will improve responses and treatments for opioid use and overdoses.