Admin against budget cuts

UH President Renu Khator took steps to minimize the impact of the massive reductions in state funding proposed in the Texas House and Senate by testifying before both the Texas House and Senate.

In a bid to convince legislatures that higher education in Texas should be a top priority, Khator argued the budget cuts would mean fewer students could earn degrees, and ultimately the Texas economy will end up suffering.

“It’s not just about the University of Houston. It’s about the economy of Texas,” said Khator at a Faculty Senate meeting Wednesday.

Despite the state deficit, which is estimated to be between $15 and $30 billion, Governor Rick Perry has refused to tap the $9.4 billion Rainy-Day fund. Khator doesn’t feel the same way, saying, “a lot of us feel that it is raining.”

If UH were to pass onto students the budget reduction proposed in the House, tuition would have to be raised 20 percent, according to Khator. The University “can’t afford to raise tuition at that level,” but she stopped just short of saying that tuition costs won’t rise at all.

“We have reached the capacity as to what we can do in terms of tuition. We can’t afford to do that,” Khator said.

Khator said members of the Board of Regents are “out in absolute full force.” Some regents had to leave a House Delegation meeting Tuesday because more attended than allowed for a quorum.

“They’re making the rounds and I’m making the rounds,” Khator said.

Higher education shouldn’t be cut more than other agencies, according to Khator. Higher education institutions like UH are dealing with difficult perceptions because they have more sources of funding other than the state.

“None of the University of Houston’s accomplishments over the past several years would have been possible without strong support from the state through the formulas, financial aid, and the Tier One funding programs, as well as public policy that values higher education,” Khator said.

The administration has been looking into improving operational efficiencies to save money and keep as many services as possible, according to Khator. A list of the cost-saving ideas being considering can be found on the University’s website.

The suggestions, which were made anonymously by faculty, staff and students across campus, range from simple changes to increase the efficiency of the University, to the outright elimination of some programs or positions.

UH has increased its annual fundraising income from $49 million three years ago to $100 million today. UH has also raised $63 million for undergrad programs and scholarships.


  • "The suggestions, which were made anonymously by faculty, staff and students across campus, …"

    This is not true. The president asked the comments to be emailed to her and therefore she has access to the identity of the person submitting the comment. By trying to control the input process, the President sets a very bad example.

    For her to have credibility in Austin, she needs to set the example by giving up all the excessive perks (mansion, car, driver, etc) and return the 18% 75K raise she took last year. Otherwise, she appears as a greedy administrator living in luxury at the cost of taxpayers and students at a time of economic crisis. As such, she has no credibility in Austin when she talks to legislators.

  • "Despite the state deficit, which is estimated to be between $15 and $30 billion, Governor Rick Perry has refused to tap the $9.4 billion Rainy-Day fund. Khator doesn’t feel the same way, saying, “a lot of us feel that it is raining.” "

    Dr. Khator: if you really feel that it is raining, how do you explain the fact that you live in a mansion with car, driver, and maids and receive 18% 75K raise at the taxpayer and student expense during such dire economic times? Unfortunately, your lack of sincerity and credibility will hurt the UH community severely but you do not seem to care…. Where is leadership?

  • I have to agree with the both of you.

    Also, Instead of promoting tier one all the time, maybe Khator should focus on keeping students in school and making tuition more affordable for those that are classified as poor or middle class. The President is focused on the wrong thing. It seems as if she cares about Tier One more than providing a good quality affordable education to Future Cougars and Students that are already here during this economic crisis. Clearly she isn't too concerned about keeping staff either. It seems like affordable education is not one of her goals since our tuition seems to go up for this tier one initiative.
    We can still have the goal of being tier one but first focus on the students and their education not just the universitie's reputation.

  • UH is a unique school in that it is primarily a commuter school for students who live in the Greater Houston area and beyond. It is equally upsetting and disgusting that the school is attempting to emulate UT Austin which has a completely different identity of its own.

    What was the need to build a posh loft when parking is an essential need? Why do we waste money on buildings that are barely occupied (e.g. Cemo Hall) right next to ugly warehouses that are virtually empty?

    Why do students have to subsidize the football team which, without student tuition dollars, can't stand on its own?

    I don't know about the rest of my fellow classmates but I came to UH to learn and walk out a better educated and informed person. I DID NOT come to UH so I could workout at an ultra-expensive gym or cheer for a football team!

    UH is nothing but a farce at this point. Even recruiters have made comments about how deplorable the buildings were at UH and how disgusting the bathrooms are inside Bauer. Money should be spent on academics first and foremost and non-essentials a distant last (e.g. sports, gym, etc).

  • While I don't exactly like cuts in education of all places, I also too think that all schools around Texas could learn to keep a tighter budget and trim off some fat.

    I'm not going to name names, but a certain professor mentioned to the class that out of the $500+ we spend for the course, only roughly $15 goes to him/her for the whole semester. The rest is considered 'overhead'. Maybe I have the numbers wrong, but I'm quite certain that what was said.

    Point is, is that we don't need tons of money to be Tier One. As long as we use it effectively and make education priority one, then we'll be Tier One. If education is a priority, then there shouldn't be any bit about tuition raised 20%, classes cut, etc. when other budget cuts could just as well work.

    UH should lead other Texas universities by example and challenge ourselves to show we're better by having such a tight budget, that we don't need to worry about cuts from state funding. Cutting energy/resource cost, consolidating admin jobs, less landscaping, etc. will go a long way.

  • I agree with my fellow students when stating that President Khator no longer holds the faith of the University Community, but also of the city it serves. She has done a commendable job in taking the University of Houston this far, but her common stance of research first, students second will take us no further. It is time that President Khator steps down.

    Echoing the wideheld beliefs of many within the student body, overall my experience at tge University of Houston has been left wanting, when compared to my Associates Degree granting institution, which featured class sizes that never exceeded 30, and annual tuition costs that are half that of UH’s.

    That being said, the University of Houston boasts excellent faculty and more momentum than any other Texas school. What we need now is to take the State’s tighter budget and under new leadership refocus on what is at the core purpose of this University – the education of its undergraduate students.

    Without placing the treatment of these students as a top priority, (something our current leader does not do), UH’s upward momentum will not only stop, but it will also nonetheless be unable to achieve the vaunted status of a Tier One University.

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