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Sunday, November 18, 2018

UH System

Board of Regents to decide student finances, future


The UH System Board of Regents will meet at 12:30 p.m. today in the Hilton UH to make financial and academic decisions with the potential to impact the entire student community.

Fees and tuition 

Needing only final approval from the Board, the UH System is requesting to establish four-year fixed tuition rates for fiscal years 2015 and 2016 for first-time-in-college freshmen and undergraduate transfer students.

According to the meeting’s agenda packet, the fixed-rate program is a requirement of House Bill 29 from the 83rd Texas Legislature, but the fixed rates are optional for students.

Approval is also being requested to change to the FY2015 and FY2016 variable-rate undergraduate and graduate tuition and fee rates; to the mandatory student-recommended fees; and to the voluntary and optional fees and charges for FY2015.

Asset sales

If all items on the agenda are approved, President and Chancellor Renu Khator will also have the authority to bring in extra funds.

The Facilities, Construction and Master Planning Committee and the Finance and Administration Committee will request approval to delegate the authority to Khator to negotiate and execute the sale of about 2.89 acres of UH land, just south of the Energy Research Park and along Brays Bayou, to the Houston Parks Board in order to ease the cost of an upcoming hiking and electric cart trail and a new tunnel system for utility infrastructure.

UH would maintain the right to use the property for any purpose. According to the agenda item, the sale price would total $336,520.

The Finance and Administration Committee is also seeking to delegate authority for the sale of properties acquired as gifts since 1980. The total value of these properties is $157,267, according to information provided to the Board.

Endowment funds, other assets

Representatives from investment company Cambridge Associates are working with the Endowment Management Committee to modify the UH System Investment Policy for Non-Endowed Funds. About $626 million in non-endowed funds are currently subject to this policy, according to the committee report.

“All non-endowed financial assets of the University of Houston System are to be invested in a manner that will provide the highest investment return with the maximum security while meeting the daily cash flow demands of the System,” according to the redlined policy.

If the revised copy is approved, 50 percent of UH’s non-endowed assets will be allocated in cash pool and invested in money market funds with a 91-day benchmark, and 50 percent will be allocated to a liquidity pool with a horizon of one to five years.

The Endowment Management Committee is also requesting to liquidate four UH endowments, including two from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, to transfer the funds to the UH Foundation to accommodate the award stipulations.

“The two Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo endowments and The Federation of Houston Professional Women Scholarship Endowment stipulate that scholarships only be awarded to U.S. citizens,” according to the docket item, “and in the case of (the latter), the additional criterion of awarding scholarships only to female students. These criteria are not consistent with state law.”

The funds from the fourth endowment, the Computing Center Scholarship Endowment, will be dissolved and transferred to the Staff Council Scholarship Fund, which the committee believes aligns with the original intent of the award.

“The endowment was created in 1989 to provide scholarships to Computing Division employees. To date, only one gift of $700 in 1989 has been received towards this endowment,” according to the docket item.

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