The higher education elements of Governor Ducey’s proposed fiscal year 2018 state budget are a positive step for ASU, the students we serve and the Arizona economy.
The proposed continuation of nearly $8 million will directly support Arizona resident students attending ASU. This funding is critical as we work to increase the number of students pursuing higher education to meet the economic demands of Arizona in the future.
The governor’s proposed research infrastructure plan will further accelerate ASU’s research competitiveness, create new jobs, help speed new innovations to the marketplace, and position Arizona’s economy as one based on knowledge and discovery. Arizona has seen great success from past research infrastructure partnerships between the state and the universities including a 2003 research infrastructure partnership that resulted in the construction of five major research buildings at ASU.
The construction of these buildings has helped position ASU as the fastest growing research university in the United States, allowing us to attract outstanding faculty, grow our student body, and create and disseminate new knowledge and innovations across multiple disciplines. Since 2002, ASU’s research expenditures have quadrupled to $500 million. Nearly 100 companies have launched based on ASU innovations, attracting more than $600 million in external funding. Examples of some of the innovations stemming from ASU research include 3-D-printed hearts produced for surgical guidance at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the production of flexible displays, sensors and electronic systems used by our nation’s military.
The governor’s plan will also allow ASU to address critical deferred building maintenance needs. The state of Arizona currently does not allocate money annually for building maintenance and while new buildings accommodate enrollment growth and advance our overall competitiveness, older buildings still need upkeep. ASU has $239 million in unmet building renewal needs for academic and support facilities and this package will allow us to address the most urgent items such as critical roof and building system replacements and utility upgrades.
The link between an educated population and a state’s economic competitiveness is undeniable. The vast majority of jobs in the future will require postsecondary education. And regions with strong research universities attract talent and new businesses while contributing immensely to the marketplace through an adaptable, educated workforce, new innovations and spinout companies.
The state remains an important investor in the success of ASU, which is ultimately the success of the state of Arizona. I appreciate Governor Ducey’s forward-thinking budget proposal and look forward to working with him and the entire state legislature on passage.