Temple Pres Ann Weaver Hart thumbs nose at Gov Corbett.

In my in box this evening was @Temple, the monthly news e-mail for Temple alumni and friends.

The first item that was linked to was this: President Hart Stands Up for Temple at Pa. House Hearing.

From the piece:

Temple’s impact on the Commonwealth is clear: The university directly employs nearly 7,500 Commonwealth residents, and in the last seven years, Temple capital projects provided 14,000 jobs in construction and related services for the state. The president told legislators that Temple University and the Temple Health System account for $5.3 billion of economic activity across Pennsylvania annually.

This is a good point, and one worth remembering. President Hart is saying that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania money translates into jobs for the people of this state. Yet Temple University Japan Campus employs virtually no Pennsylvanians. It (almost certainly) runs a year-after-year deficit because it has to rent facilities in downtown Tokyo, which it doesn’t show on its income statement.

If Weaver Hart wants to say that giving Temple money is good because it provides jobs to Pennsylvania residents and stimulates the local economy, let’s carry that argument further and ask why it is necessary to spend the money in Tokyo?

More Hart:

In addition, Pennsylvania students attending Temple pay a lower tuition than out-of-state students. Hart also noted that the private schools in the Philadelphia region charge Pennsylvania students between two and three times as much in tuition, compared with Temple’s in-state tuition rates.

I think this is true of Penn. In Penn’s case, though, they offset the majority of students with some form of aid package. A lot of times, it’s a “scholarship” (meaning a reduced tuition fee). What the Commonwealth appropriation is, is a scholarship from Pennsylvania that every Pennsylvania student gets.

But the way the scholarship is distributed is that Temple gets a flat amount of money first, before they even know how many Pennsylvanians are going to come to Temple. So it’s money to set up whatever Temple happens to think will be good, and then, next, attract the students.

This is why programs can never be cut or reworked at Temple. Because once the project gets going, which the people at Temple will say is critical and necessary, the state has to give the money. And then, hopefully, the students attend.

(I think what really happens is that Temple offers more acceptance letters as the need to support the programs shifts.)

What I was told from a few Japanese who knew, was that it’s hard for Temple Japan to get students from Japan to attend there. They have to be really flexible, just to keep the numbers up. This is why they used to popularize an inflated enrollment of 3,000. The research I did showed that the number was actually more like 1,200. The other 1,800 were people who were either participants in one-off corporate seminars, or had some tangential relation to Temple Japan. I took Continuing Legal Education there one night as part of a Temple-sponsored event. I probably was counted as “one” in the student enrollment for the year . . .

Hart also made the point that cuts in the welfare budget would have an additional negative impact. She said the Temple University Hospital is the largest safety net hospital for providing health care to underserved populations in Philadelphia. As federal and state reimbursement support for that care continues to decline, Temple finds itself “squeezed from both ends” and will have to make difficult decisions about health care.

I think the highest paid doctor in that system makes almost $900,000 if I read the Nonprofit Form 990 correctly. (By the way, the head basketball or football coach makes big six figures, on that same Form.) When Obama-care hits in 2014, Temple Hospital system is going to get a huge subsidy from Uncle Sam. So this is thrown in there as a canard of sorts. Like, “not only are you forcing us to look at where we spend the money on the university side, but also you have us budgeted to take hits in the money we can charge for medical care through our hospital division.”

The hospital division is entirely separate from the $172 million Harrisburg has been giving to Temple for education. Weaver Hart threw that in there, almost as a threat to say that Temple overall would be shaking a lot of different trees (and could get any number of constituents upset) if the leaders there don’t get their way.

What will be the Corbett Administration’s response?