Filed Under: 


State Appropriations

For the 2014–2015 biennium (Sept. 1, 2013 through Aug. 31, 2015), total appropriated funding for higher education is $17.9 billion in All Funds, a decrease of $5.4 billion from the 2012–2013 appropriated funding level of $23.3 billion. The All Funds budget, however, no longer includes patient income to health-related institutions of higher education (estimated at $6.1 billion for the 2014-2015 biennium).

Although these institutions will continue to receive these funds, they are no longer included in their appropriations pattern. Considering only General Revenue and General Revenue–Dedicated, higher education funding will increase from $15.1 billion in 2012-2013 to $15.7 billion in 2014-2015, an increase of $669 million or 4.4 percent.

Higher education for 2014–2015 will represent 9.1 percent of the statewide All Funds budget, and 15.5 percent of the statewide General Revenue and General Revenue–Dedicated budget. This compares to 12.3 percent of the All Funds budget and 16.1 percent of the General Revenue and General Revenue–Dedicated budget for 2012–2013. Source: Summary Tables for Senate Bill 1 Conference Committee Report, Legislative Budget Board.


Enrollment in Texas public, independent, career, or private, colleges and universities in fall 2012 totaled 1,628,583 students, an increase of 28,996 from fall 2011.

Enrollment in the 38 public universities and all health-related institutions increased by 8,375 students to 600,108 students. Thirty-six universities reported enrollment increases, while two reported decreases.

The state's public community college districts, Lamar State Colleges, and Texas State Technical College System, which offer two-year degree programs, reported fall 2012 enrollments totaling 732,112 students, a decrease of 20,874 over fall 2011.

Enrollments for fall 2012 at the state's independent and career colleges and universities increased to 227,803 students, up 20,253 students from fall 2011.

Actions of the 83rd Legislature, 2013

The 83rd Texas Legislature approved critical legislation that will change the way higher education does business. Innovative legislative strategies to improve student outcomes and increase institutional productivity were approved including:

SB 1 implements outcomes-based funding for community colleges (Student Success Points) and technical colleges (Returned Value Funding Model), and increases funding for the TEXAS Grant program to $724 million, which represents the largest total dollar appropriation since the program began in 1999. Funding to expand graduate Medical Education was also appropriated.

SB 24 combines The University of Texas Brownsville and The University of Texas Pan American to create a new general academic teaching institution that includes a medical school.

SB 215 makes the TEXAS Grant program a university-only program and creates an additional pathway into the program for specific community college transfer students. The legislation also makes the B-On-Time loan program a university-only program and provides institutions with flexibility to set the award amount to maximize the number of zero-interest loans that can be issued.

SB 215 also implements a cap for the number of hours required for an associate's degree to no more than that required by licensure or accrediting requirements in an effort to improve time-to-degree (typically 60 semester credit hours).

SB 441 requires the Texas Workforce Commission to collaborate with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and public community and technical colleges to identify and develop methods to support competency-based, rapid-deployment education delivery models aligned with local and regional workforce needs.

SB 1210 requires students who receive tuition and fee exemption or waivers for higher education to meet basic academic progress requirements to maintain eligibility.

HB 5 makes substantial changes to the public high school curriculum and reduces the number of state assessments required from 15 to 5. Students must choose one of five endorsements to complete, in addition to the new Foundation Graduation Plan, upon entering 9th grade. All endorsements require four math credits and four science credits. A student may also graduate with a Distinguished Level of Achievement Plan which requires Algebra II and is required for Top 10 percent Automatic Admissions into a public university in Texas.

HB 29 requires public universities to offer a fixed tuition price plan under which the institution agrees not to increase tuition charges per semester credit hour.

HB 2036 creates the Texas 2036 Commission to identify future higher education and workforce needs.

HB 2549 requires the Coordinating Board and the Texas Education Agency to periodically review the College and Career Readiness Standards.

HB 2550 and HB 1025 create new programs to help entities: plan for new Graduate Medical Education programs; fill unfilled positions; create new residencies; and develop innovative programs to increase the number of primary care physicians.

Actions of the 82nd Legislature, 2011

The 82nd Texas Legislature approved critical legislation that will change the way higher education does business. Innovative legislative strategies to improve student outcomes and increase institutional productivity were approved including:

SB 28, known as the Texas Grant Priority Model or the Texas Grant College Readiness Reform Act, will improve the state’s return on investment by prioritizing awards to financially needy high school students whose academic efforts make them well-prepared to complete a college degree. (This legislation will go into effect in fall 2013.)

HB 9 moves Texas a step closer to implementing outcomes-based funding for two-year and four-year institutions of higher education by requiring the Higher Education Coordinating Board to recommend to the Legislature student success-based funding formulas that are aligned with the state’s education goals and economic development needs.

HB 1000 provides a methodology for the distribution of funds from the National Research University Fund (NRUF) to emerging research universities.

HB 3025 implements cost efficiency recommendations designed to help facilitate timely degree completion by requiring students to file a degree plan not later than earning 45 semester credit hours and requiring institutions to send transcripts of eligible transfer students back to the lower division institution for the awarding of an Associate’s degree, called “reverse transfer.”

SB 851 will send students a clear and uniform message regarding financial aid processes and implement a statewide deadline for financial aid. The provisions of the legislation apply beginning with financial assistance awarded for the 2013–2014 academic year.

The passage of HB 1244 will help the Coordinating Board implement changes to reform a developmental education system that is failing students. This legislation requires the Board to prescribe standards for each Texas Success Initiative assessment instrument to measure student readiness and align the delivery of developmental education. In addition, HB 1244 requires institutions to provide a range of coursework options, including online and non-course based remediation to get students on a faster track toward degree attainment. 

SB 1799 and SJR 50 help expand access during these challenging budgetary times by increasing the Coordinating Board’s College Access Loans bonding capacity to meet expected loan demand. These loans are competitive and offer the lowest rates in the country, which are 5.25% for fall 2011. This legislation and constitutional amendment, upon approval of voters, will provide students additional options for paying for college. 

Actions of the 81st Legislature, 2009

HB 51 was a major piece of legislation intended to raise the excellence of public universities and develop, fund and maintain major research universities in Texas.

University of Texas Main Building

The University of Texas at Austin. Photo by Robert Plocheck.

SB 175 authorized The University of Texas at Austin to place a cap on the number of students admitted under the Top Ten Percent Law. Beginning with the 2011–2012 academic year, UT-Austin is not required to offer admission to applicants qualifying under the Top Ten Percent Law in excess of the number needed to fill 75 percent of enrollment capacity for first-time resident undergraduate students.

HB 3 established two performance standards for high school end-of-course examinations: a standard performance and, for Algebra II and English III, a college readiness performance standard.

SB 956 authorized the board of the University of North Texas System to establish and operate a school of law in Dallas as a professional school of the system.

SB 98 established The University of Texas Health Science Center-South Texas, which includes The University of Texas Medical School-South Texas. The UT System was directed to convert the current Lower Rio Grande Valley Regional Academic Health Center to The University of Texas Health Science Center-South Texas as a component institution of the system.

SB 629 removed statutory barriers to the establishment of three new universities that had been operating as system centers: Texas A&M-San Antonio, Texas A&M-Central Texas and University of North Texas at Dallas.