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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

State legislators propose billions in funding to Texas universities

university+funds+Infograph
university funds Infograph

The Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate have approved separate plans to award Texas universities billions in extra funding going forward. 
The efforts by the two chambers of the Legislature are in an attempt to make the universities that would benefit more competitive when compared to universities across the nation. Currently, Texas only has two public universities, The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M College Station, in the top 100 universities in the country, according to U.S. News.
“Higher education is crucial to the success of our state, and the Texas University Fund represents a significant investment in the future of our economy and workforce. By providing additional resources to these universities, we can ensure that our students have access to the best possible education, which will help the State of Texas continue to be a force in the global marketplace for generations to come,” Senator Joan Huffman said in a press release. 
The Texas Senate passed Senate Bill (SB) 19 and Senate Joint Resolution 5 by Huffman onto the House of Representatives, both of which are proposed constitutional amendments that would rename the National Research University Fund to the Texas University Fund (TUF) and provide an additional $2.5 billion in funding directed toward research and graduate degrees.
The Texas House of Representatives passed House Bill 1595 and House Joint Resolution 3, both by Rep. Greg Bonnen, onto the Senate. These would also change the National Research University Fund to the TUF but would provide $3.5 billion in funding instead.
Under current legislation, schools in the Texas A&M University and the University of Texas systems have access to a nearly $32 billion endowment called the Permanent University Fund, which is funded by oil and gas leases on 2.1 million acres of land in West Texas. In contrast, the Texas State University System and Texas Tech University System only have access to the $400 million National Research University Fund. 
“As Texas’ economy and population continue to grow rapidly, so do our workforce needs. Cutting-edge research and innovation are occurring at Texas universities, adding fuel to our economic engine. The new Texas University Fund will provide funding for our non-Permanent University Fund (PUF) universities so we can continue powering the Texas and American economy forward for decades to come,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said in a statement on his website.
Under the plans to create the TUF, to qualify to receive funds, a university would need to spend at least $20 million in private and federal research funds for at least three years in a row. The institutions that would immediately qualify are Texas State, the University of Houston, the University of North Texas and Texas Tech. 
“Texas State is already a high-performing research university, but we can do so much more with your help. The creation of the TUF is one of the best financial investments we can make on behalf of the taxpayers of Texas,” Texas State President Kelly Damphousse said during a House committee meeting discussing HB 1595.
Members of both the House and Senate are hoping that if either plan becomes law, it will revolutionize higher education in Texas. 
“We’re not going to have an opportunity to do this very often. The benefit of this could be most dramatic when you start to work 20, 30, 40, 50 years from now, and people will actually look back at this and say, ‘That was transformational. That fundamentally changed higher education in the state of Texas,'” Bonnen said.
The legislature has until the end of its regular session on May 29 to approve the bill to send it to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk or to pass one of the joint resolutions, which then would appear as a constitutional amendment on the ballot on Nov. 7.
For more information on the bills and resolutions, visit https://legiscan.com/TX.

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