Texas lawmakers approve over $3B for higher education construction projects

Texas lawmakers approve over $3B for higher education construction projects

Isabel Webb Carey
Isabel Webb Carey
|
October 20, 2021

Texas lawmakers reached an agreement early Tuesday morning to provide about $3.3 billion for capital projects to help colleges and universities accommodate growth.

Gov. Greg Abbott added higher education funding to the special session’s agenda on Friday in response to a letter sent by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s request less than a week before the end of this year’s third special session.

“There have been requests and demands from schools across the state,” Patrick said in the letter to Abbott. “Both chambers stand willing to address the issue and provide the funds for tuition revenue bonds to our higher education institutions.”

Texas hasn’t passed a revenue bond package to fund higher education growth since 2015 and since 2006 before that. University and college leaders were hopeful that one would come about this year, particularly after the pandemic strained resources nationwide.

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If signed into law, the legislation would allocate about $52.4 million each to the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of Texas at Arlington for construction and renovations; $100 million to the University of North Texas at Dallas for the construction of a science building; and nearly $60 million to the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth for its campus.

The addition of more than $200 million in construction projects in the House version of Senate Bill 52 raised the specified amount from $3 billion to roughly $3.3 billion. The bill now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott for signing.

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Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey

Isabel Webb Carey attends the University of Texas at Austin in the Plan II Honors Program with a certificate in Core Texts and Ideas. Her interests include education, local governance, sustainability, and equity. Isabel enjoys dancing, hiking, and live music. She is also a staff writer for the Texas Orator. Email her at [email protected]
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