University of South Florida


Students visiting the capitol in 2023

USF students joined university leadership in Tallahassee for USF Day at the Capitol on Feb. 8, 2023. | Photo by Elizabeth Engasser, University Communications and Marketing 

Final state budget provides transformational new funding for USF

By Adam Freeman, University Communications and Marketing

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.

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