URI’s state funding slashed 32% since ’07

THE STATE APPROPRIATED around $80 million per year for URI from 2001-02 through 2006-07, but since then the amount has fallen 32 percent. /
THE STATE APPROPRIATED around $80 million per year for URI from 2001-02 through 2006-07, but since then the amount has fallen 32 percent. /

PROVIDENCE – The amount of money the state spends to support the University of Rhode Island has dropped 32 percent over the last three years, an analysis by Providence Business News has found.

The annual appropriation for URI in the state budget fell to $56.8 million this fiscal year, down from $82.5 million in 2006-07, according to financial documents and administrators.

During the previous six years, taxpayers had spent between $81.8 million and $84.2 million on URI’s annual appropriation. The figures do not include state grants and contracts.

The share of URI’s total annual revenue provided by the state appropriation fell from 22 percent in 2006-07 to 15.5 percent in 2008-09, documents show. Over the same period, the share that came from student tuition and fees rose from 46 percent to 53 percent.

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The 2010-11 state budget approved by the House Finance Committee, which the full House is expected to vote on late Thursday, would leave URI’s appropriation nearly unchanged, decreasing it by just $200,000, or 0.4 percent, from this year.

Although cutbacks to public colleges have happened nationwide, Rhode Island, South Dakota and New Jersey have made the largest cuts in their annual per-student appropriations over the past five years, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The state has provided other support for construction and renovation projects at URI such as the new Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences by issuing bonds and using money from the R.I. Capital Plan Fund, a state account reserved for infrastructure spending.

Additional information is available at uri.edu.

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