New Report Examines Spending at Big 12 Universities

Texas universities are likely facing massive budget cuts in the upcoming legislative session — so how are they spending the money they have now, and is there even any room for cuts? 

A new report from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, titled What’s Happening Off the Field?, offers some insight into the spending of the three state universities and one private school in the Big 12 Conference: the University of Texas, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University and Baylor University.

A revelation unlikely to surprise any current student is that tuition has been on the rise. From the 2004-2005 school year to 2009-2010, UT's tuition increased 37 percent. A&M's increased by 21 percent, Texas Tech's went up 13 percent and Baylor's jumped 24 percent. More surprising is that the money isn’t necessarily going to classroom instruction.

From the 2002-2003 to the 2007-2008 fiscal year, the report notes, Texas Tech’s spending on administration increased 104 percent, while its instructional spending increased by just 24 percent. At the same time, Texas A&M’s administrative spending actually decreased by 3 percent, while its instruction spending went up by 21 percent.

The report concludes that the ability of schools like A&M and University of Missouri, which cut administrative spending by 40 percent, to reduce non-instructional spending “undermines the myth that there are no cuts to be found and starkly highlights the failures of the schools whose administrative spending continued to rise.”

UT's administrative spending went up 17 percent, and its instructional spending increased 30 percent. Baylor’s administrative spending went up 15 percent, while instructional spending rose 42 percent.

The full report, which also highlights "remarkable" improvements in four-year graduation rates at A&M and UT in recent years, is attached to this post.

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.