Texas Voters Approve Creation of $3.9B Endowment for 4 Research Universities

The new Texas University Fund will benefit the University of Houston, Texas Tech University, the University of North Texas, and Texas State University.
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Published on November 9, 2023
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  • Texans voted Nov. 7 to pass Proposition 5, creating the $3.9 billion Texas University Fund for emerging research universities.
  • The University of Houston will claim $1.3 billion total, receiving $50 million in the first year.
  • Texas State University began investing in graduate, post-doctoral, and research opportunities in anticipation of Proposition 5 passing.

Texas voters on Tuesday approved a $3.9 billion endowment that will be a "transformational" boost for four of the state's emerging research universities.

Proposition 5, a state constitutional amendment authorizing the endowment, was approved with just over 64% of voters casting ballots in favor of it.

The proposition creates The Texas University Fund (TUF) a no-new-tax endowment benefiting the University of Houston (UH), Texas Tech University (TTU), the University of North Texas (UNT), and Texas State University (Texas State).

TUF will be funded by a $3 billion Texas government surplus, $896 million from the National Research University Fund, and interest-only income up to $100 million from the Economic Stabilization Fund.

"Support from the Texas University Fund will serve as the catalyst for advancing Texas Tech University and other emerging research institutions," said Texas Tech University System Chancellor Tedd L. Mitchell in a press release.

"It will drive economic growth and development in our communities and across Texas for future generations. This opportunity wouldn't have been possible without the work of our state lawmakers and support from the citizens of Texas. Thank you to our loyal and dedicated elected officials who are champions for higher education and for the communities they serve."

TTU will use its anticipated $44 million for fiscal year 2024 to continue investments in agriculture, energy, climate science, national security, and health research.

UH will claim $1.3 billion total. It is set to receive $50 million in the first year.

UH will use Proposition 5 funding to:

  • Enhance graduate programs
  • Help the university reach its goal of becoming a top 50 public university
  • Attract and retain top faculty
  • Enhance student success

"Thanks to you, Proposition 5 has passed and you have helped secure UH's continued rise to the top 50," UH President Renu Khator said in a press release.

"None of this would have been possible without the support of our state legislative leaders and your vote. Now more than ever, UH can help create new jobs, make our state more competitive, and get students to earn a top-ranked education right here in Texas."

Texas State began making new investments in the graduate and research space in anticipation of a favorable Proposition 5 outcome. This fall, the university is submitting 11 new doctoral programs for Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approval, which TUF will cover.

The university will yield $22.3 million per year thanks to the TUF. It hopes to lead research in artificial intelligence, energy, infrastructure, semiconductors, semiconductor fabrication, DNA sequencing, high-performance computing, and healthcare.

Texas State is investing:

  • $12 million to recruit 100 Ph.D. students
  • $5.4 million to add 100 new post-doctoral researchers
  • $3 million for faculty course releases to focus more on research
  • $4 million for graduate student tuition scholarships

"Specifically, TUF will have a transformative impact on Texas State by supporting research that improves public health and safety, the environment, and our quality of life," Texas State President Kelly Damphousse said in a statement on the school's website.

"This investment will change the trajectory of our university, providing access to the resources we need in order to compete for the top competitive research funding opportunities we are currently losing to other schools that have a reliable funding source like the TUF."

The University of Texas (UT) and Texas A&M University systems are not eligible for the funding since they are funded by the Permanent University Fund (PUF), created in 1876 and worth over $30 billion as of 2023, according to Ballotpedia. A third of PUF funding goes to the Texas A&M system annually, while the UT system receives the rest.