Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023

You may have heard about the Texas University Fund, known as TUF, which is being proposed as a Texas Constitutional Amendment through Proposition 5 in the upcoming Nov. 7 election.

If approved by voters, Prop 5 would create the Texas University Fund, allowing more Texas universities to compete for research dollars from the federal government and private companies, making Texas more attractive for companies to create more jobs here.

There are four universities that currently would qualify for TUF dollars — Texas State, Texas Tech, University of Houston, and the University of North Texas.

They were determined by objective criteria based on research expenditures and doctoral degrees awarded on an annual basis, and funds would be distributed on a merit-based system that correlates to each institution’s research expenditures.

Prop 5 would strengthen Texas Tech, Texas State, University of North Texas, and University of Houston to provide more opportunities for students to earn a high-quality college education here at home.

These four universities serve more than 160,000 students from working, middle class families from across the state.

Industries from semiconductors and new energy have signaled a gap in skilled workers with advanced degrees to fill high-paying jobs.

As the fastest-growing and fourth largest university in Texas with an enrollment of nearly 47,000 students, UNT has accounted for 52% of the growth in new enrollees across all public universities in Texas since 2019, and we are committed to continuing to meet the needs of our rapidly-growing North Texas region. And as a Carnegie ranked Tier One research university that is also a Minority- and Hispanic-serving Institution, we will continue to demonstrate research innovation, increase our nationally ranked programs and graduate career-ready students.

Prop 5 creates a $3.9 billion endowment from Texas’ budget surplus with NO new taxes. Universities would draw funds from interest income and profits from investments only, not off principle. This provides sustainable funding to support research, faculty, and students — with no additional burden on taxpayers — helping attract more companies to Texas and filling high-paying jobs with Texas graduates.

The Texas University Fund would be transformative for UNT and would help elevate UNT to greater national prominence while helping drive the Texas economy. It would allow for continued, sustainable funding to ensure UNT can continue to elevate its academic programs, advance innovative research and ensure students have the opportunities and resources needed to pursue their career goals. With the rapid growth of the North Texas region and thriving business corridor, this additional funding would help UNT expand the North Texas region’s workforce while continuing to help fuel the state’s evolving economy.

Texas has only two universities in the top 50 public universities nationwide. California has nine.

That’s one of the reasons why Prop 5 passed the legislature with more than 90% support from both Republicans and Democrats. Both parties understand that the TUF is critical to creating high-paying jobs to drive the Texas economy.

Importantly, Prop 5 involves NO NEW TAXES. It’s funded by a one-time allotment from the budget surplus, along with interest income from Texas’ Rainy Day Fund, and combined with the National University Research Fund.

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