Monday, October 26, 2009

A message from Chancellor Kent Hance

Dear Texas Tech family:

As early voting begins, an opportunity to influence the future of higher education rests in the hands of Texas voters. When voters arrive at the polls, Proposition 4, a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, will appear on the ballot to be approved.

Co-sponsored by state Sen. Robert Duncan, Proposition 4 is designed to increase research efforts and enhance the reputation of higher education in Texas without requiring new state spending.

“We have a lot of students leave the state of Texas to go to these renowned institutions in other states simply because they’re great research institutions and they have a great reputation academically. This will cost the state of Texas nothing because we’re actually transferring a fund that isn’t being used today into a fund where we can use it to generate income, like an endowment, that will support this research effort of the state.” – State Senator Robert Duncan

If passed, Proposition 4 will establish the National Research University Fund (NRUF) from a dormant fund in the State Treasury, which will help emerging research universities to achieve “Tier One” status. By transferring resources from an existing fund, this amendment does not require new tax dollars.

At this time, the state of Texas has only three Tier One universities. A Tier One university is defined by many standards including endowments levels, amounts of research expenditures, and the number of doctoral degrees awarded. In comparison to other states, like California with nine, and New York with seven, Texas does not compete.

Tier One institutions have tremendous impact on economic development and prosperity. Research expenditures of $10 million result in an estimated 226 percent return on investment. It is also estimated that Texas loses $3.7 billion a year, along with thousands of our academically-gifted high school students who leave for out-of-state colleges, due to the few number of Tier One schools.

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has designated seven emerging research universities which are moving toward national prominence. After meeting specific qualifications, these universities will be eligible for funding through the NRUF and establish their Tier One status.

Early voting is from Monday, Oct. 19 through Friday, Oct. 30. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Very truly yours,
Kent Hance
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