2021 Legislative Agenda
The University of Houston System (UHS) is committed to expanding access to higher education and making a positive impact on the state's economy. Click to view UHS priorities.
Provide Stable Formula Funding
Formula funding is the most important factor in making a college education affordable to Texans. Affordability is ever more critical for working families during difficult economic periods. Recognizing the impact that COVID-19 has had on the state economy, the UH System encourages the legislature to provide formula funding, at the very least, consistent with the 2020-21 rate of $55.85 per semester credit hour.
Financial Aid/TEXAS Grant
Texas Grant provides a critical resource that makes higher education affordable for low- and middle-income Texas families. The legislature should prioritize funding for these state grants that are awarded directly to students.
Restoration of Five Percent Reductions
Reductions to formula funding, institutional enhancement, downward expansion, and other state support during the summer of 2020 limited our university’s ability to achieve their core missions during a pandemic. Restoration of these cuts will help to continue achieving the important mission of providing exceptional academic opportunity to Texans.
Preservation of Expansion Funding
Maintain funding for this important supplement to University of Houston-Clear Lake and University of Houston-Victoria in order to complete the mission of transforming these institutions into 4-year undergraduate universities.
Ever rising costs associated with Hazlewood exemptions continues to strain university budgets in this state. The cost for the program was $10.5M in FY2020 at University of Houston alone, an increase of more than $300K from the previous year. The legislature should either choose to fully fund tuition for eligible students or modify eligibility in order to limit further strain on university budgets.
State Funding for Research Programs
Preserve funding to four research funds (NRUF, GURI, CORE and TRIP) in order to provide critical state investment in emerging research universities. We also encourage the state to fully fund the TRIP funding backlog.
As a means to spur economic development across the state in a post-covid environment, the Legislature should look to authorize Tuition Revenue Bonds (TRBs) that will immediately provide construction jobs and provide expanded educational opportunities for future students.
UHD Priority: Campus Development Projects
A request for funding of debt service to construct and redevelop multiple campus projects. Funds will be utilized to construct the long-planned second floor of the Girard Street Building to create space to consolidate academic support services and construction of a UHD police station to improve safety and security at the campus. Funds will also be used to repurpose 120,000 sq. ft. of the One Main Building, and the current Student Life Center, which will become unnecessary after the new Wellness & Success Center is opened, into a new Student Center. Remaining funds will be utilized to acquire select properties adjacent to the campus to enable future university expansion.
UHD Priority: Restoration of 5% Cuts to General Revenue Appropriations
State budget reductions proposed for 2022-2023 will require UHD to reduce its general revenue-related expenditures by $206,548 per biennium. While this cut was minimal and could be absorbed if necessary, in real terms, this equates to the salaries of two academic advisors, two financial aid counselors, or a full-time faculty position, all critical to student success.