UT, A&M Presidents Defend Tier 1 Research Universities In Face Of Budget Cuts (Watch)

Bowen Loftin and Bill PowersIn advance of what is sure to be an ugly, ugly legislative session for higher education in Texas, the presidents of UT and Texas A&M have been traveling the state telling anyone who will listen about the importance of supporting Tier 1 institutions.

UT president Bill Powers and Texas A&M president Bowen Loftin released today a video discussing the oft-overlooked and oft-ignored impact the two schools have on the state. The video, called Together for Texans, will be shown on Wednesday, Nov. 24 at 10:30 p.m. CST during the “Lone Star Showdown Preview” on Fox Southwest.

In it, the presidents point out that for every dollar invested into UT and A&M, the state of Texas gets $18 back. That’s almost three times better than an investment in other institutions of higher ed in Texas.

Nothing else that the Legislature funds returns anything near that much cash, and yet here’s a telling statistic. Higher education makes up just 15 percent of the state’s general revenue budget, but of the 5 percent cuts state agencies were asked to plan for earlier this year, 41 percent of the state’s enacted budget reduction came from higher education. 

And both schools are again facing an additional 3 percent cut to this year’s budget, as well as a possible additional 10 percent cut for the next biennium.

What does that mean? It means some folks in and around the Capitol perceive higher education to be the single-largest pool of discretionary money out there for closing a budget hole that might be as big as $25 billion. Even though it’s also the pool of money that gives the state the biggest return on investment.

Watch the video below. Interested in helping higher education at the Capitol? Look into joining UT Advocates.

The Longhorns and the Aggies will be teaming up again this session for Orange & Maroon Legislative Day on Feb. 15.


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