The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Q&A: Prop 5

Proposition 5

“The constitutional amendment relating to the Texas University Fund, which provides funding to certain institutions of higher education to achieve national prominence as major research universities and drive the state economy.” 

If voters approve Prop 5, the National Research University Fund would be renamed to the Texas University Fund and interest income, dividends and investment earnings from the state’s rainy day fund would be allocated annually to the university fund to support research activities at state universities.



Harrison Keller

Commissioner of Higher Education

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

Q: Why is it important for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to support this proposition?

A: Texas higher education institutions play vital roles in generating new knowledge through research and work closely with industry to translate these discoveries to the marketplace. Redesignating the National Research University Fund (NRUF) as the Texas University Fund (TUF) will expand state support for cutting-edge research and development capabilities at four universities in Texas. It also includes a pathway for additional institutions to benefit from the TUF. The intent is to make these universities more competitive and stronger while bolstering our state’s leadership in research, development, and innovation, which is essential for long-term regional and state economic competitiveness. 

Q: Is Ballotpedia correct in its description of why the A&M and UT systems do not receive NRUF funds?

A: The language from Ballotpedia is not quite accurate. The University of Texas and Texas A&M University Systems benefit from the Permanent University Fund (PUF) which was established in 1876. The original version of the NRUF did provide some limited funding to eligible UT System institutions, however. The proposed Texas University Fund will be different from the NRUF. This would be a new endowment fund designed to support institutions that do not benefit from the Permanent University Fund.

Q: How much did Texas A&M University-San Antonio receive from the PUF for this year? (Or where would we look in the FY 2024 operating budget for that information?) 

A: The PUF endowment is managed by The University of Texas/Texas A&M Investment Management Company (UTIMCO), under the authority of the UT System Board of Regents, and the land is managed by the University Lands office. We recommend contacting them directly for the details about FY 2023 and FY 2024 funding.

– The Mesquite received the statements from Keller in an email from Mike Eddleman, communications specialist with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.



Andrew McVeigh

Executive Director

Texans for Fiscal Responsibility

Q: Why should the average Texan care about this proposition?
A: So, this proposition does two things: One doesn’t really matter; the other kind of does. It changes the name of a fund — a fund that already exists. I don’t remember the exact name, but it’s changing the name to the “Texas University Fund.” That’s the first part. Not a big deal, right? It’s just changing the name. 

The second part is creating a new perpetual revenue source for this Texas University Fund. It’s taking the accrued interest and dividends and that kind of thing from the rainy day fund, which is a fund set up that holds billions of taxpayer dollars, and it’s in case we ever have a major disaster, or an economic depression or something like that. And so what it’s doing is it’s taking the interest and the dividends from that rainy day fund, and it’s now going to be sending it to these universities. We think that’s a misuse of the fund, and so if Texans care about where their money is going and funds being used for their proper purpose, especially the rainy day fund, it’s such an important fund to have there. Have the right amount of money in it, in case we ever get between a rock and a hard place. Texans should care about this because it’s going to siphon away money from the rainy day fund to universities, which already receive billions of dollars every year from taxpayers.

Q: Why does your organization oppose it?
A: I think the main thing is that we think it’s a misuse of the rainy day fund. That money should be there for disasters, depressions, in case we ever really need it. That’s what it was set up for. I think siphoning away some of that money for universities when they already receive billions of dollars is not a proper use of that money. And so, that’s the main reason why we oppose this amendment and we urge Texans to vote no on Prop 5.

– This Q&A has been edited for clarity and length. Interview conducted by Dorian Gonzalez.

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