Campus News

Full formula funding tops priorities with General Assembly

A return to full formula funding for the University System will be a University of Georgia legislative priority when the General Assembly convenes Jan. 9. The issue will headline a number of important UGA initiatives facing legislators this year, according to Griff Doyle, vice president for government relations.

The university system has not been alone in the dramatic cuts to its budget over the past three years, as every state agency has seen similar cuts during the economic recession. But over the past year, state revenues have returned to a positive direction. The board of regents’ fiscal year 2013 request is for $1.85 billion, including a $102.6 million formula increase to account for student population growth. Overall, the budget request is a 6.4 percent increase over the current year.

In the capital budget, UGA’s top priority is $52 million in state support for a new Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital. The current facility, occupied in 1979, is now small and outdated, Doyle said. The new hospital would be constructed on university-owned land at the intersection of College Station and Barnett Shoals roads.

Doyle and Tricia Chastain, director of state governmental relations, also will continue to raise the issue of UGA faculty and staff salaries.

“We understand the budget will be very tight again this year and that the General Assembly faces many demands, but it’s important that we communicate that competitive salaries play a large role in faculty recruitment and retention,” Doyle said. “For UGA to remain a top-ranked university, it is critical that we maintain competitive salaries for our faculty.”

Increasing the number of graduate medical education slots available across the state is another UGA priority. This is particularly important in northeast Georgia as the ­Georgia Health Sciences University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership enrolls its third class in fall 2012.

“The $1.2 million for GME expansion in the regents budget is critical to helping solve the state’s physician shortage,” Doyle said.