As members of the House and Senate try to hammer out a deal this month on the state budget, few entities have more at stake than Texas’ universities.
Many schools are likely to see funding declines, even as enrollment continues to climb. But there’s a big range in how each university is expected to fare. The House has proposed relatively modest cuts. The Senate, meanwhile, is proposing an overhaul of how higher education is funded. If the upper chamber gets its way, universities could lose significantly more.
Below is a list of each four-year Texas public university and how it would fare in the two chambers’ spending plans for the next two fiscal years. Ultimately, writing the budget is a compromise between the two chambers. It’s quite likely that the final numbers will end up somewhere in between.
It’s also important to note that these numbers only account for general revenue allocations — they don’t include money from tuition or dollars allocated to help universities cover some employees’ benefits. The amounts for the current budget are based on estimated expenditures for 2016 and budgeted expenditures for 2017, according to a January report by the Legislative Budget Board.
The numbers include money that would be spent by the Legislature to cover bonds lawmakers approved in past sessions to pay for campus construction projects. That money is out of the universities’ control, so it’s possible that some schools seeing overall increases will still encounter declines in funding that they can spend at their own discretion.
If a school is marked for a budget increase, it’s likely either because its enrollment grew over the past two years or it is benefiting from the bonds. That school would probably still face a tighter budget over the next two years.
It’s worth noting, however, that state funding accounts for about 30 percent of combined revenue for the state’s four-year universities. So a 10 percent funding cut wouldn't mean a 10 percent budget cut at the school.
Read related Tribune coverage:
- The proposed funding overhaul in the Texas Senate's budget could cause some collateral damage.
- With budget cuts possible at the state and federal level, Texas universities are preparing for a financial perfect storm.