UH System Legislative Agenda
University of Houston System Priorities
- Restoration of 4% cut to base budget
Explanation: All state agencies were required to re-evaluate and cut 4% from their proposed budgets for the FY18/FY19 biennium. The significant budget reduction will amount to more than $2.5 million in cuts to the UH System, further restricting the ability of our universities to provide the highest quality and affordable education for our students.
- Increase base formula funding to 2011 base formula levels ($55.39/sch to $62.19/sch)
Explanation: Budget deficits during the 2013 session forced the Legislature to make severe cuts to the funding formula it uses to support Texas universities. This base formula funding helps keep the cost of attending college in Texas affordable by reducing the amount that institutions charge its students. While the Legislature provided a small increase in the rate per semester credit hour funding during the last session, the UH System requests that the Legislature continue to invest in state universities by increasing its funding to the 2011 base formula level of $62.19 per semester credit hour.
- More investment in financial aid, specifically TEXAS Grants
Explanation: The TEXAS Grants program provides higher education access to students who are of limited means, from underserved areas, and/or are the first in their family to attend college. Greater investment in state supported financial aid will allow these students to enroll and graduate, further strengthening the workforce and economic stability of our state.
- Appropriation of funds to cover university costs for Hazlewood benefits provided to students (FY2016 estimated cost of $13 million to the system)
Explanation: The Hazlewood Program provides veterans, their spouses, and/or their children access to free tuition and fees at state universities. The state, however, provides limited financial support to cover the costs of the program. Students that do not qualify for the Hazlewood benefit are forced to supplement these costs in the form of higher tuition and fees. The UH System requests that the state cover the full costs of this program, so it can remain sustainable.
- Equalize funding for Pharmacy and Nursing programs with those that are located at health-related institutions
Explanation: Pharmacy, Nursing and other academic programs funded through the formula for General Academic Institutions (GAI) receive approximately one half of the funding on a per-student basis than programs funded through the formula for Health Related Institutions (HRI). This funding disparity has created an inequitable system within our state’s universities, specifically for those programs not housed within a health science center. The UH System requests that the funding for these programs be equalized for all health related programs, including Pharmacy and Nursing.
- State funding for Tier One universities (TRIP, NRUF, GURI, CRSF)
Explanation: Together, the National Research University Fund (NRUF), the Texas Research Incentive Program (TRIP), the Governor’s University Research Initiative (GURI) and Core Research Support Fund (CRSF) constitute an innovative and powerful tool to develop and grow more nationally-competitive Tier One research universities. Further, they serve as the primary resources through which the University of Houston and other universities not supported by the Permanent University Fund (PUF) pursue national competitiveness. The UH System recommends increased appropriations to these funds in order to continue to pursue academic excellence.
- Funding for Texas Small Business Development Centers
Explanation: The University of Houston and the UH-Victoria Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) provide free business consulting and affordable training to small- and medium-sized business owners and managers. These centers are part of a network of centers located throughout the state. The UH SBDC serves as the regional hub of a 32-county area at 14 local consulting and training centers. The UHV SBDC is a local training center serving 11 counties, and is connected with the University of Texas-San Antonio Regional hub. These consulting centers are vital to the continued economic health of Texas through the creation of new businesses and expansion of existing small businesses. Any further investment in them will result in the return on the investment in them.