Appropriations Committee of the Senate of Pennsylvania
Appropriations Committee of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick Gallagher
March 3, 2020
I am honored to be here today—and to be on record showcasing how the University of Pittsburgh is a vital partner and powerful engine within the commonwealth. My statement this morning will focus on five specific areas of impact: academic, access, community, innovation and economic.
The University of Pittsburgh continues to be recognized as the top public college in Pennsylvania (The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education) and was recently named the 18th-best public college or university in America (U.S. News & World Report).
These accolades—part of a much longer hit list—have helped Pitt solidify its status as a talent magnet. In the last year alone, Pitt produced four Goldwater scholarships, a Schwarzman scholarship, a Beinecke scholarship and nine highly competitive graduate research fellowships from the National Science Foundation. Equally impressive, Pitt students earned a record number of Fulbright scholarships—14—and the U.S. Department of State has recognized us as a top producer of Fulbright recipients for nine years running.
Pitt is also a valuable talent retainer. Pennsylvania’s students can pick from more than 6,000 institutions of higher education nationwide. Yet, year after year, they choose Pitt—a vital trend that creates powerful benefits for our future workforce and economic success. Across our five-campus system, 7 in 10 undergraduates are from Pennsylvania, and 65% of our total student population calls the commonwealth home. Many of these students are top performers. For instance: Among the 14 Fulbright scholarship winners recognized last year, 11 were Pennsylvania residents.
Also in 2019: We advanced our efforts to ensure that every qualified student who wants to attend the University of Pittsburgh can afford to do so. Our current access and affordability toolkit—which has grown to eight initiatives—includes our most expansive and ambitious effort to date: a two-part program called Pitt Success.
In the Pitt Success Pell Match program, Pitt offers a dollar-for-dollar match on all federal Pell Grants, up to the cost of attendance, to any eligible student system-wide. In the Pitt Success Grant program, Pitt began capping the total unmet need for undergraduate first-year and transfer students. This program will continue to grow—ultimately including all eligible undergraduates—in the coming years.
This initiative, still in its inaugural year, saw Pitt disburse nearly 60% more in institutional grant and scholarship aid to Pennsylvania students on our Pittsburgh campus, with the exact investment jumping from $16.3 million to $26.0 million in just one year. For students on our regional campuses, our increase in support was even more dramatic: Our institutional grant and scholarship aid jumped by more than 85%—from $9.2 million to $17.1 million—in just one year.
Both programs have delivered significant relief to Pennsylvania’s students and families, with more than 70% of all Pitt Success funding—about $18.2 million total—going to in-state students and families.
It’s also important to note that many Pitt students—one in every two—remain in the commonwealth after graduation. This group includes students who originally moved to Pennsylvania for a Pitt education. Among our Class of 2018, for example, roughly one in five out-of-state students opted to stay in the commonwealth after earning their Pitt degree.
The University of Pittsburgh remains deeply committed to supporting and strengthening local communities. Last year, 23,640 Pitt volunteers spent more than 460,000 hours serving communities throughout the commonwealth and beyond.
Our innovative Community Engagement Center model—launched in 2018—physically places Pitt in urban areas for a 15-year commitment of infrastructure, staffing and collaboration. Each center serves as a local resource in a range of areas—offering everything from health and wellness programming and career development services to specialized support for business owners, entrepreneurs and nonprofits. In its first year of operation, our inaugural center in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood united 30 Pitt schools and departments, which delivered more than 40 programs and services to over 4,500 community members.
In 2019, the University of Pittsburgh set a new record—$860 million—for sponsored research expenditures. And our research activities alone inject $1.7 billion into the state’s economy year after year. Figures like this keep us in elite company.
Pitt ranks No. 10 in federal funding expenditures for research and development, according to the most recent Higher Education Research and Development Survey. And, if we limit the funding stream to the National Institutes of Health—the largest federal funding source in higher education—Pitt climbs even higher, to No. 5 in the nation.
Pitt’s vital role incubating ideas and companies continues to grow. In the last year alone, our community members were issued a combined 91 U.S. patents, and we set two new innovation records, with 367 discoveries disclosed and 162 licenses and options executed. We also spun off 17 startups in 2019, with 79 companies created in the last five years.
These statistics speak to our success as an innovation engine and partner—and helped fuel Pitt’s selection as a founding partner of Neighborhood 91. Launched in late 2019 at the Pittsburgh International Airport, Neighborhood 91 is designed to co-locate companies operating in every link of the additive manufacturing supply chain. Once complete, this one-of-a-kind innovation hub is expected to bring 1,000 jobs to Pittsburgh.
The University of Pittsburgh has long fueled economic growth while anchoring entire communities across the state. Our economic impact—which has grown 40% in the last decade—is estimated at $4.2 billion annually in direct, indirect and induced spending. And our five-campus system is also a critical player in local labor markets, supporting nearly 38,000 jobs—including more than 18,400 direct jobs for Pennsylvanians—while our community members contribute more than $73 million through volunteering and charitable donations each year.
Pitt’s economic impact also reaches far beyond our campus communities. More than 180,000 Pitt alumni call the commonwealth home—a group that is on track to generate nearly $115 billion in additional income over the course of their careers. Add to this estimated state and local government tax revenues linked to Pitt, which topped more than $183 million in 2018—the most recent round of annual data available. We also support the economic success of our external community members in a number of ways, including via our Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence. This institute served 736 small businesses, generating a collective sales boost of more than $28 million just last year.
The information that I have shared today highlights the University of Pittsburgh’s undeniable value to the commonwealth—and our incredible impact on its communities, families and future. I look forward to partnering with you, and continuing to build a stronger Pennsylvania with you, for years to come.