Universities to get more state money for facility upkeep
DALLAS — Local universities will have more money for building maintenance in 2016, as long as Gov. Greg Abbott signs a bill allocating that money through the Higher Education Assistance Fund.
Next academic year, Texas Woman’s University will get $9.9 million from the fund, and the University of North Texas will get $25 million. In 2016-17, the amounts will be bumped up to $37.6 million for UNT and $14.8 million for TWU.
“In the second year of the biennium, our higher education allotment will go up by 50 percent, and that [amount] will continue for the next nine years,” Kevin Cruser, who oversees governmental relations for TWU, told regents at their meeting in Dallas on Friday. “That is a big victory for all of higher education. We would have hoped to have it for two years, but having it in there for the second year is still a big victory.”
The funding for the account normally comes up every 10 years, and some years it hasn’t been renewed, Cruser said.
With the money, schools are allowed to do infrastructure maintenance and work on facilities.
This year, TWU estimated it needed $17.2 million for repairing current facilities, and the estimate jumps to $43.5 million in 2016, according a report.
Cruser also told the board about other bills that have been finalized or sent to Abbott’s desk. For example, regents at all state universities now have more intensive training that must be completed within a year instead of two years.
Also during Friday’s meeting, the board chose to table reviewing Carine Feyten’s work so far at TWU. Feyten, president and chancellor of the university, joined the school in July 2014.
Anna Maria Farias, vice chairwoman of the Board of Regents, said because the university does not currently have a full board and Feyten hasn’t quite worked a year at TWU, they chose to table the item. Abbott has yet to appoint two regents to replace the two whose terms technically ended earlier this year.
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.