Increasing research and raising the salary for employees are among Delaware State University’s top priorities for FY2015.

DSU president Dr. Harry Lee Williams presented the university’s FY2015 budget requests before the Joint Finance Committee today in Dover.

Dr. Williams is asking for a total of $42.2 million, an increase of about $7.6 million from the FY2014 base budget.

The largest request, $2.1 million, is to fund a four percent salary increase for university employees.

During the presentation, Dr. Williams said there are dozens of employees making a salary that barely make ends meet.

“We even have some of our employees, and I’m ashamed to say this, who are receiving assistance though other agencies in terms of food stamps and things of that nature,” said Dr. Williams.

The salary increases would apply across the board, effecting 963 employees throughout the university.

“We have so many people working at our campus who are literally working at a pay scale that is almost at the poverty line and to have this is very difficult for people to make a living. We recognize that it’s a tough economic times here in our country but we have people who equality, to excellence and we want to show them that we’re committed to them,” said Dr. Williams.

The second largest request, $2 million, would go toward helping the university secure research match grants.

Part of the DSU’s strategic plan is to increase research by 50 percent by 2020.  In order to meet that goal, the university is attracting more research professors to start new projects, such as Dr. Daniela Radu, assistant professor of chemistry for DSU, who is trying to secure funding for her solar research.

“For example, the Department of Energy comes up with solicitation for more solar research, I’d like to apply, but it’s a 50 percent match that the university has to come up with,” explained Dr. Radu.

While there are lots of grants out there, most require some kind of match from the university.

“Some major grants especially from the Federal government, they are looking to see what kind of match or support you’re going to get from the state,” explained Dr. Williams.

The university is also requesting $1 million to help the 1890 land grant match to help the university’s growing agriculture programs such as crop research.  DSU made the same request last year.

DSU’s other requests included $1.6 million in operating appropriations to help the university sustain the growth of the institution, $455,000 to help build their new Optical Science Center for Applied Science (OSCAR) building and $328,000 for improvements at the DSU at Wilmington campus.