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Legislative Agenda

University of Houston System 2019 Legislative Agenda

PRIORITIES

Stable Base Formula Funding at 2011 levels ($55.39/semester credit hour to $62.19/sch)

  • In 2013, Texas universities sustained severe cuts to the funding formula the Legislature uses to support higher education
  • Base formula funding helps keep college affordable by limiting increased costs to students

Restore Non-formula Support Item Funding (UHS loss of over $20M in 2018-19 biennium)

  • Funding enables UH System universities to conduct research and provide vital public services
  • Allows universities to partner with other entities to draw in additional funds and expand services

More Investment in Financial Aid, Specifically TEXAS Grants

  • Expands college access to students
    • of limited means
    • from underserved communities
    • who are the first in their family to attend college
  • Strengthens the Texas workforce and economic stability

Full Coverage of Hazlewood Exemptions (Est. FY2017 UHS cost: $13.5 million)

  • Hazlewood provides veterans, their spouse, and/or their children access to free tuition and fees at state universities
  • UH System is fully committed to supporting veterans and their families; however, the state provides minimum financial support to help cover costs
  • Students not benefitting from Hazlewood are forced to pay higher tuition and fees to subsidize students receiving Hazlewood benefits
  • The current funding model is unsustainable for universities

Hurricane Harvey Recovery (Est. $26M cost to UHS)

  • The Gulf Coast Region was devastated by Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, and the UH System was not spared
  • 60% of the total buildings throughout the UH System suffered damage, with UH Victoria directly impacted by the hurricane’s landfall
  • Funding would help restore lost revenues sustained from students not returning, in addition to fees, services and wages incurred that were not reimbursable by insurance
  • UH System respectfully requests relief from the outstanding costs as a result of the storm

Equalize Funding Between Health- and Non-Health Institutions

  • Health programs in General Academic Institutions (GAI) receive approximately ½ the funding of programs in Health Related Institutions (HRI)
  • This funding disparity has created an inequitable system within Texas universities
  • UHS Pharmacy and Nursing programs compete on an un-level playing field

Increase Research Funding to Strengthen National Competitiveness

  • National Research University Fund (NRUF)
  • Texas Research Incentive Program (TRIP)
  • Governors University Research Initiative (GURI)
  • Core Research Support Fund (CRSF)
  • Innovative and powerful tool to develop and grow Tier One research universities
  • Primary resources through which universities not supported by Public University Fund (PUF) pursue national competitiveness

Funding for Texas Small Business Development Centers

  • Provides low cost business consulting and training to all Texans
  • Creates and expands businesses vital to the Texas economy
  • Generates state tax revenue; further investment in SBDCs will result in significant ROI
  • UH SBDC serves as regional hub for 15 centers in a 32 county area
  • UHV SBDC serves 11 counties, connected with the University of Texas San Antonio regional hub

NON-FORMULA FUNDING, EXCEPTIONAL ITEM & TRB REQUESTS

University of Houston System

$25,633,104 for Hurricane Harvey Recovery

  • Expected unrecoverable costs for the whole UH System

$588,860 to Restore Non-Formula Support Item Reductions

  • Restoration of previous funding for NASA’s Texas Aerospace Scholars (TAS) & Technology Outreach Program (TOP) as well as system office operations
  • Scholars come from all legislative districts. Restoring funds would increase the program by two weeks and reinstate the middle school educator program

$653,490 for the NASA Texas Aerospace Scholars & Technology Outreach Program

  • Increased funding to serve more students, provide more internships, and increase awareness of NASA technology to the business community

$75,000,000 UHS Katy Expansion

  • Construct a 150,000 square-foot building on the University of Houston System - Katy Campus, shared by UH and UHV
  • Would expand academic programs to address the workforce needs in a high-growth region

University of Houston

$ 20,000,000 for University of Houston College of Medicine

  • Requests state funding to establish a College of Medicine
  • Focuses on preparing primary care doctors to practice in underserved and rural communities
  • Expands interdisciplinary health research already underway at the university
  • Helps meet the workforce need for physicians and will educate and graduate a diverse population of students to better reflect the communities they will serve

$11,094,042 to Restore Non-Formula Item Support Reductions

  • Non-formula item support has enabled UH achieve its Tier One goals, provide public service and generate economic development
  • Funds support energy and health sciences research--two vital sectors of the local and state economy
  • Funding is critical to UH and other universities that do not have access to the PUF

$60,000,000 for University of Houston Law Center

  • UH seeks state support to construct a five-story, 170,000-square-foot academic building to house the UH Law Center and drastically improve its learning environment
  • With over 54% of the current law center’s space in an underground level, the building has been exposed to unending and severe damage as a result of Tropical Storm Allison, Hurricanes Ike and Harvey, as well as a multitude of minor storms over the years
  • Construction of a new building will improve the Law Center’s ranking, public access, and will include a modern, integrative curriculum to improve student success

University of Houston-Clear Lake   

$4,213,441 to Restore Non-Formula Item Support Reductions

  • This non-formula item supports innovative education, research and academic programs
  • Loss of funding will have a significant negative impact on academic programs, new initiatives, faculty support and student access and success
  • Funding plays a vital role in financing the core mission of UHCL by providing a base funding for services and programs, including downward expansion

$56,000,000 for STEM and Classroom Building Phase II

  • The first phase of the STEM/Classroom opened fall 2018 and has revolutionized the student-centered teaching and research opportunities at UH Clear Lake
  • A critical need, however, exists to continue to build on the growing number of students interested in STEM
  • UHCL requests tuition revenue bonds to complete phase II of the STEM/Classroom building which will provide more up-scale and video/distance capable classrooms and better centralize its service units to enhance efficiencies
  • Phase II will also house the Biology and Environmental Science faculty and laboratories that will enhance learner-focused training for students

University of Houston-Downtown

$1,642,984 to Restore Non-Formula Item Support Reductions

  • Funds from this item have been treated as general operating funds for many years
  • Reduction of this item has resulted in fewer faculty, advisors and financial aid counselors, all of which are vital to student access and success

$15,000,000 for the Collaborative, Retention and Academic Engagement Facilities

  • In an effort to address UH Downtown’s lack of gathering spaces for students, UHD makes a one-time request for $15 million in state funding to establish the Student Life Center (SLC) and complete construction within the Girard Street Building (GSB)
  • UHD will use $7 million to re-purpose the current SLC and build a comprehensive student union
  • $8 million will be used to build out the second level of the GSB to construct UHD’s University College, centralizing the university’s student advising, the Gator Success Center, and will oversee the Honor’s College

$19,035,446 for the Arts, Sciences, Engineering and Entrepreneurship Center

  • UHD proposes a new tuition revenue bond funded facility to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship in the arts, sciences and engineering
  • Provides opportunities for collaborations between students and faculty across several disciplines and will serve the surrounding community through academic and continuing education programs

Wellness and Success Center (Est. cost $41,250,000)

  • UHD will be seeking legislative authority to charge a new Wellness and Success Fee in Fall 2019
  • As of Fall 2018, UH-Downtown serves over14,000 students
  • In order to serve the student population and help address the University’s goals of improved student recruitment and retention, UHD will need to add the kinds of facilities that are increasingly expected of a university of its size 
  • The Center will take a more holistic approach, which will include student counseling and elements of academic support, in addition to multi-sport ball courts, weight rooms, aerobic facilities, locker rooms, offices/meeting space, and a secondary food service space
  • Funding for the proposed Center will come from a dedicated fee, with the proposed increase subject to a student referendum

University of Houston-Victoria

$3,393,928 to Restore Non-Formula Item Support Reductions

  • Reduction of state appropriated non-formula funding affects five crucial areas at UHV:
  • Downward Expansion-key driver to expanding access to higher education in the South Texas region
  • Master’s Degree in Nursing-program helps alleviate the State’s nursing shortage; by restoring funding, faculty shortages and advanced nursing care needs can be addressed
  • Center for Regional Outreach-developed as a mentorship program, the center has been instrumental in recruiting first-generation, minority and underserved students
  • Small Business Development Center-helps clients create or expand businesses, resulting in additional jobs for the region; advises clients and offers training and workshops
  • Institutional Enhancement-allows UHV to hire additional, qualified faculty to support enrollment growth; supports student access and success                                                    

$74,700,000 for Campus Expansion

  • In the 2016-17 biennium, UHV was allocated $64.9 million for Phase I of its campus expansion plan
  • UHV requests tuition revenue bonds to continue its expansion for Phase II, to support its progress as a destination university
  • Enables the university to acquire much-needed land; remodel and renovate existing buildings; add health-related labs and classroom spaces, a facility for a lecture hall, auditorium and multi-purpose room; and enhance the Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) building
  • Continued support for expansion will enhance UHV’s ability to impact a much larger first generation and minority student population