Texas A&M University Legislative Priorities
With the 85th legislative session officially underway, here are the main issues that Texas A&M will be following for the next five months:
Restoration of Any Proposed Budget Cuts
A four percent budget reduction would have significant negative consequences at Texas A&M University. While Texas A&M’s initial actions have been and will continue to be to protect its core academic missions of teaching, research, and outreach, those functions that provide support for these activities are already operating at highly efficient levels, as evidenced by the administrative cost ratio of 3.6%, lowest of all the state's public four-year institutions. In addition, recent responses to an external report on administrative and staffing efficiencies have resulted in Texas A&M’s decision to reinvest the savings by eliminating a number of staff positions and reinvesting those recovered funds into its core academic missions. Finally, initiatives taken in response to the 2012-13 statewide reductions remain in place as universities have not fully recovered from these previous budget cuts. Essentially, further cuts to these areas, while potentially viewed as further enhancing efficiency, will begin to have a significant negative impact on effectiveness.
Maintain Current Formula Funding Rates
Formula funding is the foundation upon which public four-year institutions in Texas depend on to provide high-quality teaching and support services for growing student populations, and to prepare them to meet the workforce needs of this state. The teaching function of these institutions is supported by two key sources of funding: state appropriations primarily through the formulas, and students’ tuition and fees.
Maintain Current for Texas Research University Fund (TRUF)
The purpose of the Texas Research University Fund is to strengthen the competitiveness and performance of Texas’ two statutorily classified Research Institutions - Texas A&M and UT-Austin, to be in healthy competition with one another, but more importantly in successful competition with other nationally ranked universities. The proven way to compete successfully at a higher level is to be able to successfully recruit and retain the highest-performing faculty and students. The Constitution charges these two institutions with the responsibility to serve their students and the state’s citizens with the highest level of teaching and research. The TRUF helps Texas A&M and UT-Austin to fulfill this charge. Texas A&M and UT-Austin jointly and respectfully request that the Texas Research University Fund be funded at the current formula ratio.
Veterinary Medicine Partnerships
Texas A&M recognizes that state revenues are tight and the state faces many worthy requests. However, there is a statewide need regarding veterinary medicine. Texas A&M, as one of the best veterinary schools anywhere, has a well-coordinated plan - the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Center Partnerships - to address this state need. The THECB has recommended the state produce more veterinarians, especially in rural/large animal and in underrepresented minority populations. This partnership between the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and four A&M System universities is an innovative, cost-effective way to meet these goals without creating a new veterinary school, which the THECB also cautions against. Working with West Texas A&M, Prairie View A&M, Texas A&M-Kingsville and Tarleton State universities, this partnership will work to “grow” well-formed undergraduates for veterinary school. By placing CVM faculty members on-site at A&M System schools, the likelihood of developing rural/large animal or minority veterinary students will be significantly enhanced. These on-site faculty can also support and teach DVM students at these A&M System university locations based on regional livestock or wildlife industry interest and faculty expertise. By directly linking CVM faculty and A&M System schools, this statewide reach will be the most innovative and cost-effective veterinary outreach and student development program in the nation. This initiative is possible because of the veterinary school class size expansion, in response to THECB recommendations, made possible through a new $120 million teaching facility financed through the Permanent University Fund. Texas A&M respectfully asks the Legislature to continue to build upon this investment.
To view the entire Texas A&M agenda, including priorities for Texas A&M University Galveston and the Health Science Center, visit the Texas A&M Advocacy Network's website and click on the legislative priorities
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