Caitlin "Cait" Shields '11 May 20, 2019 5:06 PM updated: May 21, 2019 9:39 AM
Texas A&M University is poised to come out on top in this legislative session, with preliminary estimates showing about $91.5 million in new money for the school, a whopping $70 million more new money than was awarded in 2017.
The Texas A&M University System said in a news release:
Texas A&M University is poised to have a winning legislative session, according to preliminary estimates of actions taken Friday by Texas House and Senate conferees who are negotiating the final touches on the FY 2020-21 state budget.
The conferees approved approximately $91.5 million in new money for Texas A&M University for the next two-year budget cycle, as compared to about $20 million in new money in the 2017 legislative session. The conferees’ final report must be approved with floor votes by the House of Representatives and the Senate before going to Governor Greg Abbott for his consideration. The session ends May 27.
“This is the best financial session that Texas A&M has ever had,” said Chancellor John Sharp '72.
The additional money can be attributed to Texas A&M’s growth ($24.5 million increase in the funding formula), an estimated $12 million more in a special research fund, plus $55 million to help correct a disparity in funding between the state’s two flagship schools, the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University.
State lawmakers typically fund higher education institutions on a per student basis, rewarding universities as a school grows. In 2017, however, the Legislature awarded UT-Austin additional money over and above what they gave Texas A&M, even though the Austin flagship had capped its enrollment at slightly over 50,000 students. Texas A&M has continued to serve more students with about 64,000 on the College Station campus and about 69,000 when satellite campuses in Galveston, Qatar and McAllen are included.
Correcting that unequal funding was the top legislative priority for Texas A&M University and the Texas A&M System.
The Association of Former Students' Advocacy Network works year-round to engage key stakeholders on issues impacting Texas A&M, like funding awarded during the state's legislative session. This program organizes events like Orange & Maroon Legislative Day with the Texas Exes to bring Aggies and Longhorns to the Capitol for a day to advocate for higher education in Texas, all of which is only possible because of dedicated volunteers, said Dave Fujimoto '17, director of strategic engagement at The Association.
“We are so fortunate that we have former students that are so passionate about Texas A&M," he said of the Advocacy's program's volunteers. "Our volunteer Advocates really took the time to study and understand the university’s legislative agenda and take an active role by engaging our elected members - through email campaigns, letter writing, meetings and OMLD. Our collective voices were heard in Austin, and the Texas A&M Advocacy Network played a small but effective role during the 86th session.
“We appreciate the hard work of the members, committees and their staffs to ensure that Texas A&M has the financial resources to educate our current students, and graduate Aggies who are prepared to work and lead in the 21st Century economy,” Fujimoto said.
More than 100 former and current students went to this year's OMLD and advocated for Texas A&M; learn more about OMLD here. Learn more about The Association's Advocacy Network and how to get involved here.
Former students have been powerful advocates for Texas A&M for more than a century. Association donors help support advocacy, news and awareness efforts. You can lend financial support here at tx.ag/give.