Temple University Japan and the Pennsylvania Senate budget committee.

I am going to come back to pure Japan issues in a few days, but I want to put a post in about how things are going with the Temple University matters here in Pennsylvania.

As regular readers know, I have been advocating a clearer policy by Temple in the money that it’s spending in Tokyo, Japan, for the Temple University Japan Campus.

Earlier this year, Pennsylvania Governor Corbett submitted a budget where he proposed cutting Temple University’s “Commonwealth Appropriation” (the money it gets from the state) by about $90 million. This, of course, had nothing to do with Temple Japan, but it dovetailed nicely with my question about what that branch campus actually costs the taxpayers of Pennsylvania.

The March 11 disasters enabled the administration at Temple to showcase its efforts to keep the Tokyo campus running. The problem, of course, is that “standing with Japan” and paying a Tokyo landlord multimillions over the last 20 or 30 years aren’t exactly the same thing. I would rather that people direct humanitarian relief to those who actually need help in the crisis. Stand with the Japanese who had the North Pacific Ocean wreck them, not with well-connected people in downtown Tokyo who don’t need the help.

(By the way, in that regard, Temple’s Bruce Stronach has found someone at Goldman Sachs there to provide a certain amount of scholarship money. Does this answer, or does it evade, the question of the multi-millions spent? Well, it is a nice gesture, but doesn’t really go to whether it makes sense for Temple to keep the thing in Tokyo if it costs much, much more than what the school has admitted to. Why can’t the Japanese government itself chip in more, if it finds the school a value to the Kantou region of Japan?)

So I am following what the Pennsylvania Senate is doing with the Corbett budget. The state House of Representatives proposed putting some of the Temple money back–about half, or $45 million. I am wondering if, behind-the-scenes, Temple’s people aren’t working on the Senate to put the other half back. (So, in the end, no cut to Temple, and no having to justify Temple Japan.)

It will be interesting to see what the Senate does, especially Senator Brubaker, who is my guy here in Lancaster County.

If the Senate does agree to the House cut, the next step will be to see how much Temple has to hike tuition. Then, it makes sense to raise Temple Japan with the broader public, not just the people who read blogs. As fate had it, it has put me in a part of Pennsylvania where you can very easily reach many people through local papers. The Philadelphia market can easily be sold on this subsidized internationalism—just look at the Channel 6 Visions clip, featured at the Temple site. But the far suburbs of Pennsylvania is an area that more carefully scrutinizes things. In some parts, the money does not flow as easily as it does around Philadelphia, and people are much more sensitive to things that can be argued are not really benefiting the people.

When the college kids and their parents face a 10% hike, then an issue like Temple Japan is ripe.

[Update: By the way, Temple put out its Form 990 for the year ended June 30, 2010. Once again, a number that goes to Temple Japan appears on the Schedule F. Last time, it was $5,080,000. This time, it’s $2,459,000. In both cases, more than the $1,000,000 that Temple admits to on the other, Deloitte-prepared financials. (That is, on the annual financials, not the Form 990, which is for the IRS.)

The real subsidy is the difference, isn’t it? Temple Philly spent $2,459,000 in Japan, but says it only spent $1,000,000. Right? And if you took it all the way back to 1983, that’s got to be a huge number—maybe on the order of sixty million.]

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