Budget Information Center

As a state-related institution without a large endowment (approximately $800 million), Temple’s operating budget—which finances the day-to-day, ongoing operations of the university—is almost entirely driven by tuition revenue. Examples of what is financed by the operating budget include departments, schools and colleges; student resources and services; libraries; campus operations; development; administration; and more. Compensation and benefits make up approximately 65% to 70% of the overall operating budget. 

    Allocation of Expense Budget

    University Budget & Planning

    The Budget Office is responsible for the planning, development, implementation and administration of Temple University's operating budget. This entails the preparation and submission of the annual operating budget for Board of Trustees' approval, annual allocation plans, and ensuring our financial resource decisions are aligned with the institution's defined strategic priorities and timeline. Additionally, the office is responsible for the preparation of the University's annual appropriation request to the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

    Commonwealth Support for Higher Education


    The appropriation helps to offset Temple’s education-related costs, so we can pass those savings on to Pennsylvania students in the form of lower tuition. The annual state appropriation supports Temple’s core educational mission and uses the state funds to pay for the necessary expenses to educate students, including salaries and benefits for faculty and staff, utilities, facilities and technology needs. Pennsylvania currently ranks 49th in appropriations for Higher Education where college in Pennsylvania costs 69.60% more than the national average cost of attendance at a public 4-year institution. The average private university costs 26.01% more, and local community colleges are 55.39% more expensive than they are nationwide (see Education Data report). In November 2023, the Pennsylvania legislature approved funding for the state-related universities following roughly five months of delays. State lawmakers have not increased funding to Penn State, Pitt, or Temple since fiscal year 2020. Governor Josh Shapiro released a new blueprint for higher education in Pennsylvania ahead of his 2024 budget address, focused on competitiveness and workforce development, and grounded in access and affordability. 


    Temple approaches the tuition-setting process from the outset each year with a goal of keeping any increases as low as possible. That goal is dependent on a variety of factors, including enrollment estimates for resident and nonresident students; state appropriation; cost-saving opportunities; cost increases committed to labor contracts, and employee benefits. For more on this topic check out this article about the state-related universities and their commitment to access and affordability.

    Budget Information

    Understanding our budget and the impact of enrollment

    Since the fall of 2017, total enrollment has declined nearly 10,000 students and translates to a reduction of approximately  $200 million in gross tuition. And while the university’s enrollment has decreased by 24.1% students since the fall of 2017, its number of full- and part-time time faculty members has decreased by only 3.5%, down to 3,671 from 3,804. 

    The decrease in students is also reflective of the success of the university’s Fly in 4 Graduation Partnership, which works to ensure that students graduate in four years with as little debt as possible. The innovative program is one of the first of its kind in the United States, and it has been immensely successful. However, by the very nature of the program, its success will ultimately mean that there are less students on campus. 

    As Temple’s enrollment has decreased, the university has worked to trim its budget wherever possible. Since fiscal year 2021, Temple has reduced its budget by $170 million. The vast majority of these reductions were largely imposed on the administrative departments by eliminating vacant positions and non-bargaining salary reductions. At times, we have administered hiring freezes while also identifying opportunities to optimize organizational efficiencies. Significant layoffs have never been pursued. 

    Why can’t we use reserve funds?
    • In recent years, Temple University, like several other universities, has benefited from one-time emergency federal stimulus dollars, but those funds are no longer available. 

    • University reserves are intended to be used for one-time expenses or investment in long-term projects. Relying on reserves to cover recurring expenses would deplete the reserves and leave the institution vulnerable in the future. As an example, when your roof needs to be replaced, that is the time to tap into your savings for a one-time project investment. It is unsustainable to use reserves to cover your monthly mortgage payment. 

    • Using reserves to cover deficits would negatively impact the university’s credit rating which would not only make it more expensive to borrow money to fund future capital projects, but would also raise concerns among donors, alumni, and other stakeholders about Temple’s financial stability. 

    Why is the budget being cut while new infrastructure is being built?

    The majority of funds used for capital improvements, like new buildings, are state funds that are awarded and designated for that purpose. The university is not permitted to use the funds for another need.  

    New facilities play a key role in attracting and retaining students, which is especially important in today's competitive climate. Investments in the environment where our students live and learn supports our core mission. 

    Can cuts be made to athletics instead?

    Temple was built on a mission of access and our commitment to student athletes supports that mission. For many students, athletics serve as the door into higher education. Athletics also plays a key role in attracting and recruiting students, and reaching a broader regional and national audience. 

    Is Temple still trying to build a football stadium?

    No. This has not been considered for years and is not part of any current plan.

    Why is tuition in PA so high?

    In 2021, Pennsylvania ranked 49th in the country in public funding for higher education per full-time student, according to the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association’s higher education finance report. Pennsylvania state funding is tied to enrollment and retention outcomes, which are on the decline. As a result, PA’s public institutions are some of the most expensive in the country. The average cost of attending a state institution for a Pennsylvania resident is $26,040, nearly 70 percent more than the national average, making it the third most expensive state for public higher education, according to a recent Education Data Initiative report. See also 7/12/23 Inside Higher Ed

    What are we doing to address the budget deficit?

    As we have dealt with both decreasing enrollment and stagnant state funding, the university has worked to mitigate its financial challenges by reducing the budget by approximately $170 million since 2021. This year, the university began the current fiscal year with a projected $90 million budget deficit, but that has since been balanced by the elimination of over 150 administrative staff vacancies and the use of one-time dollars, as well as reducing the number of staff hires through the administrative hiring review process implemented in fall 2022.

    To ensure a more sustainable path forward, every central support unit has been asked to make reductions in current spending and submit a plan for reducing the budget by 5% for the coming fiscal year. Each of us must take a closer look at our programs, services, and the way we do business. We will continue to explore where we can find efficiencies and will be pursuing every option that helps the university balance the budget. This is not a one-time exercise and leaders will need to determine what is core to our mission and what services we might need to change, reduce or eliminate.