House Bill 51

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The adoption of Texas House Bill 51 had major effects on the future of Texas higher education and the University of North Texas in particular as one of seven universities the stae targeted for economic investments. The following are some summary statements and highlights concerning this legislation:

  • From the THECB Overview: HB51, 81st Texas Legislature : "HB 51 was a major piece of legislation passed by the 81st Texas Legislature that covered a number of important higher education topics including funding and incentives to emerging research universities, incentives for institutes of undergraduate excellence, conversion of the Higher Education Fund to the National Research University Fund, and the authorization of revenue bonds for certain institutions of higher education."
    • Requires long-term strategic plan for each research and emerging research university;
    • Establishes funding criteria as well as incentive grants for excellence programs at universities; requires Coordinating Board to make funding recommendations for this purpose;
    • Allocates the annual $262.5 million from the Higher Education Fund (HEF) to authorized institutions for FY 2011-2015 (funded through general revenue);
    • Codifies provision of performance incentive funding to universities based on at-risk student enrollments and graduation rates of students in high-need fields;
    • Changes the constitutionally dedicated HEF to the National Research University Fund (NRUF) with approval from voters;
    • specifies criteria for institutions to be eligible for proceeds from the fund to support research;
    • In addition to NRUF, creates two other funds to support the development of national research universities: the Research University Development Fund (RUDF) based on research expenditures at eligible institutions and the Texas Research Incentive Program (TRIP) to match certain gifts and endowments at eligible institutions;
    • Creates a select interim committee to be coordinated by the Coordinating Board to study the feasibility of collecting data and maintains a searchable electronic database regarding technology research projects conducted at public universities;
  • The financial basis for the law is described in this fiscal note by the legislature.
  • Thompson Reuters hosted a webinar on HB 51, discussing the ramifications of the bill and how their research analytics tool could be useful in university metrics related to the bill.
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