Formula Funding

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History

Formula funding is how state higher-education institutions equitably distribute available state funds. They allocate base level of funding primarily based on enrollment. The formula is calculated by the Higher Education Coordinating Board and its recommendations are presented to the Legislative Budget Board in June of even years.

In 2011, higher education suffered substantial cuts to base funding levels.

2017 Goal

We ask the legislature to restore formula funding to their 2009 levels to best support the university’s academic functions. If funding is not restored to those levels, current funding amounts should be maintained.

Common Misconceptions

UT has plenty of money and doesn’t need additional state resources.

  • Since 1984, UT Austin has seen a more than 40 percent decrease in state funding, yet it maintains the lowest per-student, per-year cost when compared with twelve other major research universities.
  • The money coming from the Available University Fund to UT Austin is only 9 percent of the budget, and can only be used for academic program enrichment purposes. Some examples include library enhancement, specialized STEM equipment, and scholarships.

The legislature has recently boosted higher education funding, so why add to that among all of the other needs out there?

  • For every tax dollar spent on education a student at UT Austin, Texans gain a 15-to-1 return on that investment through a more skilled and knowledgeable workforce.

UT just received a money for capital renovations.

  • Special items and capital funding for campus facilities fall outside of formula funding.
  • Tuition-Revenue Bonds (TRBs) do not involve tuition money, and has nothing to do with alleviating the academic financial needs of the university.

What You Need to Know 

  • UT Austin enrollment continues to grow; total enrollment in the fall of 2015 was 50,950 students.
  • Adjusted for inflation, base funding has fallen by more than 40 percent since the mid-1980s.
  • General revenue accounts for a mere 12 percent of UT Austin’s budget.

 

Tuition Reregulation

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History

In 2003, the Capitol granted tuition-setting authority to the governing boards of public colleges and universities instead of the Texas State Legislature under HB 3015. This was due in part to a handicap posed on universities from deep cuts in state funding to higher education and the need for flexibility for institutions to remain competitive with national peers. Legislators understood that this vote would result in decreased state support and increased tuition.

Plans for reform in the last session and during the interim have ranged from complete state regulation of tuition to codifying certain benchmarks for institutions to meet in order for them to be able to consider tuition increases.

In 2016, UT Austin requested a 3% tuition increase in each of the next two years, and that request was approved by the Board of Regents. This is after resident undergraduate tuition has been frozen at UT Austin since fall 2011.

2017 Goal

We ask the legislature to support public higher education institutions by maintaining the flexibility to set tuition and fees upon approval by the corresponding board of regents.

Common Misconceptions

The instituion lacks efficiency.

  • In 2015, Kiplinger ranked UT Austin the 13th Best-Value Public College in the nation and the number one Best-Value in Texas.
  • Financial aid increases have out-paced increases in listed tuition for resident undergraduates at UT Austin over the last decade.
  • President Fenves prioritized efficiency in his State of the University address, and UT Austin is a model for efficiency in higher education. For example, administrative cost is 5.4 percent according to figures collected by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

More regulation will encourage universities to more rapidly increase four year graduation rates.

  • The number of students to graduate on time from UT reached record highs this year, with 60.9 percent of undergraduates earning their degrees in four years or less.

The legislature has recently boosted higher education funding in terms of formula and research funding, and there is no cause for increases in tuition on the heels of this enhanced funding

  • The proposed increase of three percent in tuition over the next two years just keeps up with inflation.
  • State revenue was reduced by $92 million to UT Austin for the biennium in 2012.

What You Need to Know

  • Since 1984, adjusted state funding is down more than 40 percent.
  • The University of Texas at Austin’s tuition percent increase was significantly less after deregulation (2003-2015) than before deregulation (1993-2003).
  • UT Austin has not raised tuition since 2011.

 

University Research Funding

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History

In 2011-2012 UT Austin’s amount from the Texas Competitive Knowledge Fund (TCKF) dropped to $18.4m/year. This level amounted to a reduction of one-third since the fund was created. The 83rd Legislature began restoring funding to TCKF for the 2015-2016 biennium.

The Texas Competitive Knowledge and Research Development Funds were phased out last legislative session, and three new funds were created. The Texas Research University Fund provides a $1.2 million investment for every $10 million in research expenditures at UT-Austin and Texas A&M. The Core Research Support Fund supports emerging institutions, and the Comprehensive Research Fund will cover the rest of the colleges and universities in Texas.

Preexisting matching funds will also now include undergraduate research as well as graduate research, and the new Governor’s University Research Initiative adds $40 million to help universities attract world-class researchers.

2017 Goal

We ask the legislature to support the Governor’s University Research initiative and to continue to invest in research programming at the public Tier One institutions through the Texas Research University Fund.

Common Misconceptions

Research does not add substance to a higher education.

  • Basic research is conducted at universities and colleges throughout the nation to contribute to greater knowledge and understanding of fundamental phenomena in physical sciences, engineering, environmental and life sciences, and the humanities.
  • Students at a Tier One research institution receive invaluable opportunities for applied learning through hands-on experiences, advanced problem solving and instruction from world class faculty.

Nothing useful comes out of university research.

  • Some examples of the innovation that have come from UT Austin research include: lithium-ion batteries, anthrax treatment, whooping cough vaccine, replacement heart valves, and safe nuclear waste removal.

What You Need to Know

  • Sponsored research at UT Austin has extended humanity’s base of knowledge and brings royalties, tax revenues, and new business to the Lone Star State.
  • Research from UT Austin brings in more than $724 million to the Texas economy, the equivalent of almost 12,000 jobs.
  • Research at UT Austin has resulted in more than 700 U.S. and international patents over the past decade.

 

Financial Aid

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History

State funding for higher education continues to fall, forcing tuition rates to increase in order to account for the loss. The Texas Legislature repealed student financial aid programs like the Top 10% Scholarship program and the B-On-Time program. These programs directly supported students with more than 100 million dollars, and encouraged on-time degree completion. Students now rely on federal funding and the Texas Grants Program.

2017 Goal

We ask the legislature to restore and support financial aid programs.

Common Misconceptions

If the cost of tuition wasn’t so high, students wouldn’t need financial aid.

  • UT Austin tuition ranks 6th on tuition when compared to other Texas public universities.
  • UT Austin has the second to lowest rate of tuition when compared with fourteen national peers.
  • UT Austin received 43,592 applications for the 2015 academic year that show there is substantial and growing interest in obtaining a degree from a Tier One teaching and research institution; students still view obtaining a degree as a net positive investment.

Financial aid should be covered at the institutional level.

  • For the 2014 academic year, the average tuition and fee rates were covered at 114 percent for UT System, meaning that a large percentage of resident undergraduate students paid nothing towards tuition and fee charges and received additional aid to cover books and housing.

What You Need to Know

  • State support for financial aid programs has dwindled, creating an abrupt gap in funding.
  • UT Austin is actively looking for ways to promote on-time graduation which helps keep financial needs low.
  • UT Austin is a great value education.

 

Dell Medical School

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History

The Dell Medical School is the first new medical school to be built on the campus of an AAU-recognized research university in nearly 50 years. In 2011, state Senator Kirk Watson proposed building a UT Austin medical school as the centerpiece of 10 community health-related goals to achieve in 10 years. Travis County voters approved a city-wide referendum for bond package. As recently as 2012, Austin was the largest city in the country with a Tier One research university but without a medical school. The Dell Medical School welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.

2017 Goal

We ask the legislature to provide secure funding for Dell Medical School in the state’s budget.

Common Misconceptions

Austin doesn’t need or want another medical enterprise.

  • This is an investment in the state of Texas that was mandated by the community when they passed Proposition 1 in 2012 to use local property tax revenue to help fund the school.

Dell Med is isolated from our established Austin-area healthcare community.

  • Dell Medical has partnerships with the people of Travis County, the Seton Healthcare Family and Central Health, as well as to local physicians, nonprofits, entrepreneurs; the medical school is connected in deep and meaningful ways to the community.

UT Austin doesn’t need the money for Dell Med School.

  • Education of medical students should be established under the formula used for other medical schools located at health-related institutions.
  • Dell Med School should be funded in the same way other public institutions training medical resident students receive funding.

What You Need to Know

  • Dell Medical is an investment in the future of medicine worldwide and technological innovation in the way we heal and care for our people.
  • The Dell Medical School’s partnership with the people of Austin and Travis County is unprecedented. The school would not exist without the support of its community.
  • The school would not exist without the state support granted to all public health related institutions.