Tampa, Florida — People across Tampa Bay are worried after learning USF could lose a huge amount of its state funding.
The State Senate proposal — if it passes — could cripple USF for decades. And the person behind it has become a one-man wrecking crew.
First, here’s what’s been proposed by the Senate’s budget committee: a 58 percent plunge in the funding the state provides to the University of South Florida.
This would mean dramatic cuts to classes, even whole programs. Teachers would lose their jobs. And USF would gain a reputation for instability — something that could send the best professors, students, and researchers looking elsewhere for to study or work.
The whole state university system would take cuts under this Senate plan. But compared to Florida’s other major research universities, the hole ripped in USF’s budget would be more than twice as large.
USF’s 58 percent cut would be matched by a 26 percent cut at UF and a 22 percent cut for FSU.
Put another way: the state would help support each UF or FSU student with more than twice as much money than would be spent on a USF student.
And that’s not all. USF would lose all funding for USF Polytechnic in Lakeland — $18 million. If USF wants to keep any of those teachers or students from USF Poly, it would have to come up with the money — somehow.
USF’s College of Pharmacy would lose $6 million in funding. The total taken from the University of South Florida, when factoring in the new USF Poly costs, comes out to $104 million.
Why is USF being targeted? Most signs point to a political attack. The chair of the Senate budget committee is State Sen. JD Alexander (R-Lake Wales).