UH and Texas Tech are the only two “emerging research universities” eligible to receive money from the National Research University Fund this year, according to a report by the Texas Higher Eduction Coordinating Board.
Pending an audit by state auditor, UH is eligible to receive the funds, said Commissioner of Higher Education Raymund A. Paredes in a memo to the state auditor’s office, published online by the Texas Tribune.
The two mandatory criteria for eligibility are to be an emerging research university and have restricted research expenditures, both of which UH has met.
UH has also met the criteria in endowment funds, number of doctorate degrees awarded, institutional recognition of research capabilities and scholarly attainment and high-quality faculty — meeting the minimum four of six passes necessary to be eligible to receive the funds, according to the report.
UH spent $57 million on restricted research in fiscal year 2010 and $53 million in 2011, according to the report, exceeding the required $45 million.
The value of the institution’s endowment funds also has to be at least $400 million in each of the two fiscal years preceding the year for which the appropriation is made. In 2010 and 2011, UH spent $491 million and $591 million respectively.
Also, UH met the criteria of high-quality faculty by having seven faculty members who had been awarded national or international distinction in 2010 and eight in 2011.
If UH is approved for the funding, it will receive one-seventh of the total money allocated for distribution by the NRUF, plus an equal share — up to one-fourth — of the remaining money after the other eligible schools receive their seventh, according to Texas House Bill 1000.
A boost in admissions is also expected because of the new status, as UH already saw a 12 percent increase in fall 2011 from the year before, said Shawn Lindsey, Director of Media Relations for UH.
“It’s impossible to attribute that rise to any single factor,” he said. “But as the University of Houston’s profile and reputation as a Tier One, nationally competitive research university continues to rise it’s only natural to expect that so will the interest of prospective students.”