UD seeks small hike in budget

Dennis Assanis

Dennis Assanis

DOVER — In contrast to several state agencies that have appeared before budget officials the past few days, the University of Delaware’s budget request is more modest: a 1 percent increase.

The proposed raise would go to scholarships for Delaware high school students.

The university is receiving $118.7 million in the current fiscal year.

President Dennis Assanis, who joined the university from Stony Brook in New York, made his first appearance as UD chief before the Office of Management and Budget on Friday, exactly one year after he was publicly named president.

UD is working to keep tuition low, increase diversity and promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Math degrees, Dr. Assanis told listeners.

Since 2012, tuition has increased for out-of-state students but decreased for Delawareans, he said.

He also touted a 3 percent jump in minority enrollment from 2011. Minorities make up about 15.4 percent of the undergraduate population.

UD is aiming to put more of a focus on STEM degrees, he said. About 20 percent of bachelor’s degrees from the university are in STEM fields, a figure Dr. Assanis called “far below the rates of our peers.”

To bolster those efforts, university officials are planning a new science building and hoping for $60 million from the state over three years.

The total requested sum for capital projects for the fiscal year starting July 1 is $35 million. The university is receiving $5.5 million this year.

Dr. Assanis said the university is seeking to raise money through ways other than tuition, such as fundraising and grants.

“You can’t rely on tuition to build excellence,” he said. “You can’t rely on tuition if you want to keep the education affordable.”

He also pointed to online courses, saying “we need to think of online as an amazing new lever.”

Budget hearings wrap up Tuesday, when Delaware Technical Community College and Delaware State University will formally make their requests.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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