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Why We Need Your Support

 

As recently as the 1980s, the state of Texas still contributed nearly half of the university’s budget. Today the state’s contribution is 12 percent.

Part of UT’s funding structure is the Permanent University Fund, or PUF. Contrary to popular belief, the PUF isn’t “extra” money; it’s part of the state’s higher-education funding structure. PUF assets include more than 2 million acres of oil- and mineral-producing land in West Texas.

The revenue that the PUF generates annually does not go exclusively to UT, but rather to 17 institutions in the Texas A&M and UT Systems. UT’s share for 2014-15 was $263 million — about one-tenth of our $2.66 billion budget.

With a change in state funding unlikely in the foreseeable future, revenues are expected to remain flat if not decline further. By necessity, UT has made up the funding difference through increased tuition and fees and the vigorous pursuit of research grants and philanthropic support.

The university’s budget has grown substantially over the years to keep up with our changing world. The budget for 1984-85 was $503 million, or $1.15 billion in today’s dollars, versus $2.66 billion for 2014-15.

 

 

Factors accounting for that growth, for us and for universities nationwide, include not just more students being served as the population increases, but also the ever-rising costs associated with:

  • Attracting and retaining top faculty,
  • Maintaining aging infrastructure while updating and modernizing the campus, and
  • Investing in new instructional and research technologies.

Everything the university does is linked to teaching, research, or community engagement. Like a well-managed business, UT works continuously to reduce costs, increase productivity, and improve service, all in the most efficient ways possible. Efforts are underway to achieve recurring savings from shared services on campus, for instance, in information technology and other areas.

But it is no inexpensive undertaking to operate a top-tier flagship university, and there are limits to how lean the university can be administratively without affecting the quality of how we serve our students and the people of Texas.

In addition to revenue we receive from the licensing and commercialization of faculty-developed technology, other initiatives, including such outside-the-box ideas as selling excess power generated by our campus on the open market, promise to reduce our costs and ultimately benefit our bottom line.

Any funding sources we pursue are in the service of our core academic mission of teaching and research and in the spirit of making UT the best public university in the nation.