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Student Giving – Frequently Asked Questions

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The University already receives money from the state of Texas. Why are you seeking private support?
The University of Texas at Austin is more than an average public university; it is one of the nation’s best. The reason is private support. UT would be a much different place if it operated solely on state funding, which provides just 17 percent of the University’s annual budget. Private support makes it possible for UT to recruit and retain the best students and faculty, to acquire important cultural treasures and works of art, to conduct research that changes the world, and to keep its classrooms, labs, and technology on the cutting edge.

I heard that higher education in Texas is rich from oil money. Doesn’t that provide ample funding?
The state of Texas does use some oil revenue to help fund higher education, just as other states draw upon their industries to support public services. The Permanent University Fund (PUF) is a public endowment, and its income is derived from revenue generated by West Texas land provided by the state as a financial investment in higher education. Proceeds result from oil, gas, sulfur, and water royalties, rentals on mineral and grazing leases, and gains on investments. The PUF isn’t “extra” money — it’s part of the state’s higher-education funding structure.

The annual investment return on the $11.7 billion PUF is known as the Available University Fund, or AUF. Revenue from the AUF does not go exclusively to The University of Texas at Austin but to 18 institutions and six agencies in the Texas A&M and University of Texas Systems. UT Austin’s share for fiscal 2007-08 was $143.6 million out of the University’s total budget of $1.93 billion — about 7 percent.

While the University’s share of the AUF has remained relatively steady through the years, other sources of state funding have shrunk. Twenty years ago state appropriations provided 47 percent of the University’s budget. Today that number — less than 17 percent — is about a third of what it was in 1984-85.

I already pay tuition. Why should I give UT more money?
When you give, you’re part of what makes the University great. That, in turn, increases the value of your degree. Even more important, you become part of something larger than yourself. You feel the satisfaction of supporting a cause that matters to you.

The tuition increase in 2007-08 was used primarily to recruit and retain faculty (UT is planning to hire 30 new faculty members next year), to provide new classroom and laboratory equipment, and to renovate and upgrade instructional facilities.

Tuition is only part of the University’s financial picture. UT will continue to stress the importance of investing in higher education to the Texas Legislature, it will continue cost-savings measures, and it will continue to seek additional resources from donors. Ultimately, if additional revenues are not collected, many proposed enhancements to the education experience at the University will not be implemented.

Even with tuition increases, total academic costs for Texas residents remain low relative to the University’s peers. National publications consistently rank The University of Texas at Austin as one of the best values in higher education. The University’s tuition ranked seventh among UT among 10 peer institutions, including the University of California-Berkeley, UCLA, Ohio State University, and the University of Michigan.

I can’t give much. Why bother?
Every gift counts, no matter the size. Many small gifts make a big difference when combined. Annual gifts strengthen academic programs, support new research, and enrich the educational experience. Annual gifts also boost the University’s reputation: U.S. News & World Report considers alumni participation in annual giving when it ranks the nation’s universities.

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Mona Rupani
Administrative Program Coordinator
Phone: 512-232-6065
Toll-Free: 866-4UTEXAS (866-488-3927)
Fax: 512-471-3439

The University of Texas at Austin
University Development Office
P.O. Box 7458
Austin, Texas 78713-7458

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