AUSTIN – The University of Texas System Board of Regents today (Aug. 14) approved a $11.5 billion operating budget for the 2009 fiscal year, which begins Sept. 1. The new budget represents a 7.9 percent increase, or $845 million, over the previous fiscal year.
“The Board’s approval of this budget reflects the System’s continuing commitment to outstanding education, research, and health care,” UT System Interim Chancellor Dr. Kenneth I. Shine said. “We have done our best to ensure that all System institutions do their work in an efficient and cost effective manner. We believe the budget will accrue to the benefit of all Texans.”
Significant areas of growth include instruction expenses (6.9 percent, $171 million), research (9.6 percent, $156 million) and hospitals and clinics (9.8 percent, $266 million).
Increases in instruction and hospital and clinical expenses are primarily associated with new faculty and staff positions needed for rising student enrollment and growing patient care. Growth in research expenses results from a continued commitment by UT System institutions to developing research activities and the majority of the increase results from the System’s health-related institutions.
Revenue from health care, sponsored programs, state appropriations and tuition and fees represent about 84 percent of budgeted revenues. Budgeted state appropriations ($1.9 billion) were relatively flat, increasing by $9 million or 0.5 percent over 2008 levels. State appropriations represent 16.9 percent of the System’s expense budget, down from 18.2 percent in Fiscal 2008.
The UT System’s six health institutions account for 65 percent of the overall operating budget. At $2.80 billion, U.T. M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston has the largest budget of the System’s 15 health and academic institutions. The institution with the second-largest budget is U.T. Austin ($1.98 billion), followed by U.T. Medical Branch at Galveston ($1.61 billion) and U.T. Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas ($1.49 billion).
For Fiscal 2009, flexible tuition at academic institutions will generate about $74.5 million of new funding, which will be distributed in the following areas:
The portion of the budget that will fund the UT System’s general administration functions rose 1.7 percent to $35.8 million for Fiscal 2009. General administration is funded mostly from public endowment income generated by the Available University Fund. The increases in administration will go primarily toward staffing for new strategic initiatives and merit increases for existing staff and related benefits.
The Faculty Science and Technology Acquisition and Retention (STARs) Program is budgeted for $10 million for System academic institutions and $10 million for health institutions in FY 2009. Program funds, which come from bond proceeds of the Permanent University Fund, are used to purchase state-of-the-art equipment and to renovate laboratory facilities to help attract or retain researchers in health, mathematics, computer sciences, biological sciences, physical sciences, engineering and liberal arts.
Launched in 2004, the STARs Program has aided in the recruitment and retention of top-flight faculty, who in turn have generated more than $200 million is sponsored research at UT institutions. Since the program’s creation, the UT System has allocated roughly $124 million in grants to the institutions.
The UT System is one of the nation’s largest higher education systems, with nine academic campuses and six health institutions. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $11.5 billion (FY 2009) including $2.5 billion in research funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Student enrollment exceeded 194,000 in the 2007 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's health care professionals annually. With more than 81,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.