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THANK YOU FOR A FANTASTIC ORANGE AND MAROON LEGISLATIVE DAY 2021!

Since 2003, Aggies and Longhorns have gathered at the Texas Capitol every other year as part of Orange and Maroon Legislative Day, an event utilizing current and former students to advocate for the shared goals of the state’s two Tier 1 research universities. In this year’s all-virtual event, over 75 current and former students from Texas A&M joined with volunteers from the University of Texas to visit with 54 Texas House and Senate offices.

While we missed the opportunity to visit with our legislators and their staffs in-person, this year’s format allowed Aggies from all over the state and nation to join in and advocate for higher education in Texas! This event could not happen without our volunteers who took the time to prepare and share their support for enhancements to the Texas Research University Fund and the Governor’s University Research Initiative. These funds are vital for the two universities to recruit distinguished professors and find solutions for our state and nation’s most pressing issues. The legislative offices expressed gratitude for our visits and voiced their support of our higher education goals.

OMLD 2023 will be here before we know it! To be the first to hear about our plans for returning to an in-person OMLD for the 88th Legislative Session, be sure that you are signed up to be an Aggie Advocate!

OMLD Group Photo

Resources

As we tell the stories of the Orange & Maroon, it's important to be equipped with the latest information and to know who your legislators are. Whether you email or contact them during the year or specifially as part of OMLD 2019, this section provides links to help you engage your representatives.

Floor of the Texas House of Representatives

FAQ

Although they educate almost 100,000 students a year, these two publicly supported state institutions depend on appropriations to fund instruction, research and infrastructure obligations. With a national trend of decreasing or static state support for higher education for the ever growing need for an educated workforce, the state's higher education system is attempting to provide a quality education to more students with rising costs. Faculty salaries must still be competitive and an adequate infrastructure must be in place to attract and retain top faculty. Texas A&M and UT have a state constitutional mandate to be universities of the "first class." Even though these universities have strong resource support, the cost for upholding this constitutional mandate is great. There are basically two sources of funds that support the core function of a state university: state funds and tuition.

Many people believe UT Austin and Texas A&M are "rich" because they receive funds from the PUF, which has a market value of $10.4 billion. A&M and UT are advantaged by the PUF and are very grateful to receive it, but are not the only benefactors of the PUF. Today, the PUF supports 18 institutions and 6 agencies from the UT and A&M Systems, serving more than 215,000 students. The income from the PUF (Available University Fund or the AUF) can only be used to pay for debt service on PUF bonds issued to fund capital expenditures at both systems institutions and to fund excellence programs at UT Austin, Texas A&M University and Prairie View A&M University. A&M and UT have made good use of these enhancement dollars by hiring new faculty, providing scholarships, purchasing specialized science and engineering equipment, and making library enhancements. However because state support has not kept pace with increasing costs, the advantage these schools receive from the AUF is diminished in the support for excellent academic programs. Unfortunately, the PUF does not have the same effect it once had in the contribution of excellence on each campus.

Texas does need more national research universities and it recognized this when it the legislature in 2009 adopted a pathway to provide incentives and funding for more universities to reach this important goal. Voters also approved a constitutional amendment providing additional funds to those emerging research institutions meeting critical milestones on the path to Tier 1 status. At this point, Texas Tech, University of North Texas, University of Houston, University of Texas at Arlington, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Texas at El Paso and University of Texas at San Antonio are focusing on moving to Tier 1 status.

National research universities draw talent, federal research dollars, and innovation to our state. They bring research that has both short and long-term impact on our economy. For every dollar the state invests in UT and A&M, more than $18 is generated in the Texas economy. That's an exceptional return on investment.

So where is Texas now? California and New York both have nine national research universities. Texas has three -- UT, Texas A&M, and Rice. We are a rapidly growing state, and having only three universities in this category limits the state's research capacity and innovation generation these important institutions produce, and it limits the appeal to both talented students, faculty and researchers to move to our state to be engaged with the excitement produced by a national research university.

While funding the efforts for additional Tier 1 universities is important, just as important to the state's economy is continuing to adequately fund the existing public research institutions. A&M and UT must be supported to continue to be premier institutions that attract research and innovation, and the nation's best and brightest students, faculty and researchers.

If you have additional questions or wish to contact us, you can email us at tamuadvocacy@aggienetwork.com or call us at (979) 845-7514.

Address

505 George Bush Drive
College Station, TX 77840

Phone Number

(979) 845-7514

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