With the start of the Texas Legislative Session, the House and Senate released preliminary budgets that apparently leave $50 billion on the table. For years TACT has been lobbying for additional research funds to be diversified among Texas universities and distributed more equitably. We are happy to see the proposal for a new $2.5 billion endowment towards public universities that are not a part of the University of Texas or Texas A&M University, which already receive funds from the "Permanent University Fund." Certain bills would need to be passed in the legislature in order for these funds to be released.
We've let you know recently that community colleges may have new funding restrictions based on completion rates and transfers, but the budgets do propose $650 million for community colleges.
Six universities have requested a tuition freeze over two years that would come at the price-tag of $1 billion dollars. They also asked for the following:
$352 million, equal to a 7% increase in the money allocated through the state’s higher education funding formula;
$80 million in funding for regional universities, such as Texas A&M International University in Laredo and the University of Texas at Tyler;
$276 million for the Hazlewood Legacy Program, through which the universities waive tuition for qualifying military veterans and their families;
$290 million, which would enable the state to fund health insurance for higher education employees at the same rate as other state employees. Currently, according to the chancellors, the state covers less than 80% of the rate it pays for state employees. (see Forbes article for more details)
There's no doubt, this Session will be one to watch!