July 2007

The 80th Texas Legislature –
Important New Investments for UT Dallas’ Future

UT Dallas is on a journey to transform itself into one of the best universities in the state and nation. Accomplishing this won’t be easy and it won’t be possible without adequate funding.


Texas State Capitol

We take pride in the excellence of our students and faculty, but maintaining that quality is expensive. We provide instruction and research opportunities in the most expensive segments of higher education: science, engineering and business. Faculty of these areas command salaries higher than in all other fields except medicine and law.

Our two largest sources of funding for core operations are tuition and state appropriations. Of course, we work to keep tuition as low as possible. Given that goal and recognizing that quality has a cost, the importance of state funding is clear.

State appropriations are decided by the Texas Legislature, which meets for 140 days in odd-numbered years. UT Dallas does its best to provide information that will help these important decision-makers understand the value of what we provide to our students and the role the University plays in the economic and social vitality of this region of the state.

The 80th Session of the Legislature adjourned late this spring, and I’m delighted to report overwhelmingly positive results for UT Dallas. We thank state legislators and Governor Rick Perry, as well as key business leaders and chambers of commerce in the region who helped get the word out.

Higher education as a whole received an increase of $146 million for financial aid and $100 million in incentives to improve teaching and educational excellence and for scholarships. And, thanks to the Texas Legislature, UT Dallas’ funding will increase 13.3 percent, notably including:

• A 6 percent increase in formula funding (an increase of $6.1 million);

• A $6.2 million increase in funding for research from the Research Development Fund;

• $2 million for Science, Engineering and Math Education, which will build on the University's strengths and help the University meet the community's education needs; and

• Full funding of tuition revenue bond debt service and funds for the Natural Science and Engineering Research Laboratory (NSERL) as a part of Project Emmitt.

Additionally, Sen. Florence Shapiro of Plano and Rep. Fred Hill of Richardson passed a student-proposed fee bill. This legislation, put forward by the UT Dallas student body, will support the construction of a new student services building and provide free passes for mass transit to students, among other initiatives.

We will now take a deep breath … and begin preparing for the 81st Session by working with the House Select Committee on Higher and Public Education Finance. Chaired by Rep. Dan Branch of Dallas, the committee will work to improve college and workforce readiness by coordinating public and higher education finance policy. We will also make efforts to visit with legislators from around our state and discuss initiatives with the other key education committees.

We are pleased with the results of the recent session, and thank the many legislators and leaders who helped tell the story. The Dallas-Fort Worth region urgently needs top-tier, world-class research universities to compete successfully in today’s global economy and the support of the Legislature fuels the University in its journey toward that level of excellence.

About This Newsletter

The President's Viewpoint is a periodic newsletter distributed to a select group of alumni, friends, faculty and staff. It comes from the desk of Dr. David E. Daniel, President of The University of Texas at Dallas, and provides the ultimate insider’s view on the news and concerns of the university.