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Government Affairs Update

Federal Relations

On July 1, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published the final rule on implementation of the Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS) fee for international students and scholars. The rule takes effect on September 1, 2004.

The rule offers two primary payment options for international students and scholars: over the Internet using a major credit card or via mail by "check or money order drawn on a U.S. bank and payable in the U.S. currency." The rule also permits fee payment by a third party, either in the United States or abroad.

The rule also describes the efforts of DHS and the State Department to establish a pilot project in China and India that would allow the SEVIS fee to be collected at U.S. consulates in those countries. 

DHS will be able to issue and students will be able to receive both paper and electronic receipts.  While DHS and the State Department are setting up a system by which the payment of fees may be verified via computer, this system may not be in place in every embassy and consulate by the time the rule takes effect.  Paper receipts or printed copies of electronic receipts may be used by students to prove the fee has been paid.

The rule can be read online at http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/ 06jun20041800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2004/04-14961.htm.

Additional information about the fee and the fee collection process can be found on the DHS Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) web page at www.ice.gov/graphics/enforce/imm/sevis/index.htm.

OGCPA working through the Office of International Programs (OIP), will monitor the impact of the rule on Penn's international students and scholars as part of a higher education community-wide effort.

Commonwealth Relations

On July 3 the Pennsylvania House and Senate gave final approval to HB 2535, Penn's FY 2004-05 non-preferred appropriation bill, and sent it to the Governor for his expected signature. This bill provides a total of $44,022,000 to the University, an increase of 2.5% over the amount appropriated in FY 2003-04. The amount also represents an increase of 0.75% over the amount recommended by the Governor. All other college and university appropriations were also increased 0.75% over the Governor's proposed levels.

On a line item basis, the bill provides the following appropriations:

Veterinary School—$37,364,000;
Medical School—$3,861,000;
Cardiovascular Studies—$1,531,000;
Dental Clinics—$1,035,000; and
University Museum—$231,000.

The Dental Clinics appropriation, an increase of 22.3% over 2004, brings their funding back up to the same level of funding as provided to the Commonwealth's two other Dental Schools (Pitt, Temple). (See  chart below)

The General Assembly also approved HB 2579, the Commonwealth's General Fund budget. HB 2579 includes the restoration of the Community Access Fund, a special program that provides additional funding for health care providers that have significant levels of Medical Assistance and charity care patients. This program provides approximately $5 million annually to the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

HB 2579 also includes $600,000 for the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center, the same level of funding as last fiscal year.

City Budget and Tax Reform Update

The Mayor presented a $3.4 billion FY05 budget to City Council in March. Because the City is facing a considerable deficit this year ($227 million for ‘05, expected to grow to $670 million in 5 years), the Mayor's proposed budget was  austere and contained limited tax decreases. In November, a special tax reform commission released recommendations for a major tax reform overhaul for Philadelphia. Many members of City Council were disappointed that the Mayor's budget did not reflect many of these tax reform recommendations and in addition included cuts to selected recreational centers and cultural and arts groups in Philadelphia.Because of these two issues, City Council over Memorial Day weekend passed a budget that included an additional $160 million in tax cuts and restored $14 million in cuts to arts and recreation programs. On June 10, the Mayor vetoed the Council-approved budget that included these tax reforms. There were not enough votes to override the Mayor's veto. Council passed a revised spending plan on June 21, 2004 and sent it forward for the Mayor's approval, along with two controversial tax reform measures: incremental reductions in the Business Privilege Tax (BPT) and the Wage Tax. On July 1, the Mayor averted a shutdown of city services by approving the $3.4 billion budget, but he vetoed the BPT reduction schedule. Council adjourned on July 1, 2004 and will return to session in the fall.

—Carol R. Scheman, Vice President for Government,
Community and Public Affairs

 

University of Pennsylvania History of Non-preferred Appropriation
(In Thousands Of Dollars)


FY 2000

FY 2001

FY 2002

 

FY 2003 Final
HB 2495

Instruction

$     —

$      —

$    —

$     —

Medical
Instruction

4,034

 4,034

4,034

4,034

Dental Clinics

  938

    938

  938

   891

Cardio-Vascular Studies

   6321

    882

1,632

1,600

Veterinary
Activities

32,276

   34,783

    36,626

    38,445

University
Museum

    2192

     2413

    2483

      2363

Total University

  $38,099

  $40,878

$43,4784

$45,2065

 

University of Pennsylvania History of Non-preferred Appropriation
(In Thousands Of Dollars)


FY 2004
Final
HB 1379

FY 2005
Final
HB 2535

% INC. OVER 2004

Instruction

$     —

$     —

             —

Medical
Instruction

3,832

  3,861

                 0.8

Dental Clinics

   846

  1,035

               22.3

Cardio-Vascular Studies

1,520

  1,531

 0.7

Veterinary
Activities

  36,523

37,364

2.3

University
Museum

    2253

      231

 2.7

Total University

$42,946

$44,022

2.5

1 Includes $132,000 appropriated through separate non-preferred appropriation.

2  Appropriated through separate non-preferred appropriation.

3  Appropriated through PA Historic and Museum Commission.

4 Note: Amount authorized by HB 1201.  Does not reflect 3% freeze announced 1/18/02.

5 Note: Amount authorized by HB 2495. Does not reflect 2% freeze announced 2/13/03.

as of 7/6/04

 

 


  Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 1, July 13, 2004

ISSUE HIGHLIGHTS:

Tuesday,
July 13, 2004
Volume 51 Number 1
www.upenn.edu/almanac

 

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