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The University plans to cushion academics when writing a budget to account for the proposed loss of over $37 million in state funding, administrators said Friday. But Budget Director Stephen Golding said he expects the University to plan a multi-year budget to accomodate the possible shortfall. "Academics is the highest priority," Golding said. "It is the core of the University which we must preserve." Golding added the budget will resemble last March's plans for wide-ranging cutbacks. The University's planned budget cuts responded to the governor's proposed halving of the University's state appropriations. Last year, the University planned to run a multi-million dollar deficit, cut 300 faculty and staff positions and postpone almost all building projects that were not already underway. But after heavy lobbying, the University secured state funding equal to the prior year, $37.6 million. Last year's proposal was also designed to preserve academics, administrators said. But administrators noted Friday that cuts into every area of the University indirectly affect the academic mission. Earlier this month, Gov. Robert Casey proposed eliminating the University's state funding, ignoring the University's request for $41.2 million. The General Assembly will now debate and revise the governor's proposal before returning it to Casey for his signature. Golding said he expects the budget plan will be a multi-year system in order to reduce the blow to the University of an immediate $37 million loss. "But it's the same issues on the table again this year," Golding said. "And it is not just taking out $37 million this year that is hard; it's [also the possibility of] not getting the money in the future, either." He declined to specify any further details of the budget. John Gould, executive director of the president's office, also said Friday the inability to rely on state funding in the future may complicate the University's budgeting process. "[Casey's announcement] seems to be a statement of philosophy," Gould said. "We will really have to tighten the belt." Casey said in his budget proposal the state should stop funding private schools, pointing to three other states which he said do not fund their Ivy League universities. However, two states of the three -- New York and New Jersey -- did fund schools.

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