Officials from the University of Delaware have requested additional money from the state legislature.
University of Delaware officials recently issued a request to their state legislature for additional funding to help them to cover increases to health insurance premiums.
At the same time, the university is also seeking more money for providing state residents with scholarships.
The funding would also help to support a dual degree program between the University of Delaware and Delaware State University.
The funding requests arrived at the University of Delaware’s annual Joint Finance Committee (JFC) presentation in Dover. The committee is hearing a number of state agency budget requests and will make a decision on the university’s request as a part of its complete budget process. The legislature is expected to hold its budget vote near the end of June.
Dennis Assanis, President of the University of Delaware, explained that the rising costs associated with health insurance premiums are hard on the school’s budget. Employees of the university are covered by the state healthcare plan, but part of the cost that would be funded by the state is covered by the university.
Health insurance cost the university tens of millions of dollars in 2023 and that is expected to rise.
Assanis stated that the university paid $80 million in healthcare costs in 2023. That figure is expected to rise by an additional $34 million by 2025. He went on to say that this sharp increase in expenses is forcing the school to take “draconian measures” in the name of budget balancing.
“Mitigating the impact of this cost will require significant reductions in our programs and services,” explained Assanis.
The school has also placed hiring on hold and intends to places as many capital projects on pause as they can. This includes the planned Christiana Towers demolition. Though this will lead to a short-term savings, it is likely that they will be even more expensive once the university starts them up again, said Assanis.
According to the JFC chair, state Senator Trey Paradee, all state agencies are “in the same boat” with the upcoming increases in health insurance premiums. “Rising healthcare costs have been a real issue for a few years, but my gosh, what’s happened over the last several months is just an explosion,” said Paradee. “Hopefully, we can come to some kind of resolution of how we address this and how we rein in some of these costs.”