Temple University Japan II: How much are the Pennsylvania taxpayers subsidizing?

More on this topic from the other day.

Here is a screen shot of the Fiscal Year 2007 numbers that I got from the Temple U. main site (clickable):

Temple FY 2007

You can see this from the source, here. It’s a PDF file, so watch out, it might take a while to download. If the site is down, try this saved copy.

Temple Education Support Services (TESS) looks like it is the alias for Temple University Japan. If you read through the report, you learn that TESS is a Japan-based outfit. I don’t know why they didn’t include “Japan” in the name to make it clear. TESS is the only other thing on the list that is charging tuition. It is in Japan, it is Temple, and so presumably it is Temple University Japan.

You notice over in the column for “Educational and General (4)” (“Column 4”), that is the only other place that tuition and fees are being recorded. So that must be the main campus of Temple. In FY 2007, they charged $398,439,000. In addition, they got $169,535,000 ($169 million) as “Commonwealth of Pennsylvania appropration”.

This is a fancy way of saying that they got money from the state government in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania calls itself a “Commonwealth”, but it’s just a state like the other 49.

It’s clear, isn’t it, that when you look at the money in that Column 4, the money that the students put in and the, ehem, Commonwealth puts in is about equal to what goes out as instructional expense—“educational and general” expense.

There are a few items that boost revenue that you don’t see in the TESS column. But in the main the Column 4 tuition and Commonwealth appropriation almost cover the educational and general expense. Maybe like 97%.

Coincidentally, with TESS in Japan, the tuition covers 98% of the expense! Wow!

Even though:

the plant and equipment costs are probably way different,

there is some tax imposed on TESS,

it does business in a foreign currency while incurring expenses in U.S. dollars,

and probably three or four other main differences that I am missing.

Yet year-after-year, the costs of TESS are just a bit more than the money it takes in!

That’s why I think that TESS is an allocated cost on that report. In reality, no one outside of Temple Controller’s knows what it costs to run the Japan Campus of Temple. It may cost $30 million and takes in $20 million. Which would mean, of course, that it is a $10 million a year sinkhole for Pennsylvania.

We just don’t know.

If the faculty is fly-in, well, the only reason some people are faculty at all is because Pennsylvania annually pays in that $169 million or so. The expectation is that they are enhancing the Pennsylvania community, not off on some exotic junket. Courtesy of the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.

Again, I don’t have the answers. I think the answers sit in the Controller’s Department in Philadelphia. And I bet the people in Harrisburg are kept as mushrooms on the project, and have been for years. (A mushroom is something that grows in the dark and is fed a lot of manure fertilizer.)

It’s just my view because the numbers on the report don’t really move. And it seems to me that they should.

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