Proposition 5, TUF to allocate $3.9B to Texas universities
This November, Texas voters will decide on Proposition 5, also referred to as the Texas University Fund, a constitutional amendment that would allocate $3.9 billion in funding for UH and three other state university systems.
Proposition 5, is a bi-partisan effort to advance the national ranking of the UH, Texas Tech, Texas State and North Texas university systems by supporting research, faculty and post-grad study.
“Proposition 5will provide the University of Houston and other Texas universities critical funding to attract top faculty, increase research and development, and enhance graduate programs to drive the state economy and our national rankings forward,” said Chancellor Renu Khator.
UH is set to receive $1.3 billion to support its research plans moving forward making it one of the most heavily funded universities in the country, according to a report by the Houston Chronicle.
Texas industries have seen a greater need for higher education labor in the state. These efforts hope to attract more business to Texas and fill more jobs with Texas graduates, and at no extra cost for voters.
“In order to continue to build our economy, we need to have top universities that keep our students in our state and grow the economy through our own folks who are growing up in Texas,” UH system Vice Chancellor Jason Smith told Houston Public Media.
The state has only two Top 50 public universities – the University of Texas and Texas A&M University.
Texas higher education is down compared to other states, according to Smith. California has nine schools among the Top 50 public universities. New York, Virginia and Florida each have three. As a result, Texas is losing approximately 20,000 students each year who wish to be part of a prominent university outside the state, Smith said.
These efforts are to advance the status of UH and the four other university systems to help their schools make the leap into Top 50 recognition with hopes of retaining more Texas graduates and top-tier faculty.
The four university systems – UH, Texas Tech, Texas State and North Texas are the four schools to be granted access to the TUF. The Texas Legislature considers these universities to be emerging research facilities that have invested in research over the years and have been successful in building their research capacities, Smith said.
UT and A&M have had access to their own permanent endowment fund since 1876 which is funded by leasing revenue from state-owned oil-rich land in West Texas. UT has an endowment fund of over $42 billion making it the second largest in the world, only behind Harvard.
House Bill 1595, renamed the National Research University Fund, provided funds to emerging research institutions, to TUF and House Joint Resolution 3 allocated $3 billion to the fund, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Simply put, the proposition would rename the NRUF to TUF and allocate money to the already existing fund, Smith said.
The funds came from a $33 billion revenue surplus that accumulated the past two years. The Legislature took a portion of that, $3 billion, and combined it with the National Research Fund, he said.
Rohit Shajan is the UH community/campus coordinator for the campaign. His responsibility is to spread awareness of Proposition 5 on campus and across the Greater Houston area.
“We had legislators from both sides of the aisle that were working passionately to get this along and we finally did it and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and the only way that we’re going to get the fund is if people vote,” Shajan said.
Shajan hopes voters see the importance of the bill and make the right decision when it comes to Election Day.
Texas voters will have the opportunity to determine the fate of Proposition 5 in the November elections. Early voting will take place from Oct. 23 – Nov. 3, and election day is Nov. 7.