Senator Ellis Press Release

For Immediate Release
May 25, 2011
Contact: Jeremy Warren, 512-463-0113

Tier One Bill Passes Senate

(Austin, Texas)—The Texas Senate today passed HB 1000, legislation co-sponsored by Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) to help the University of Houston and other Texas universities become Tier One institutions.

Creating more Tier One universities has been a top priority of higher education policy makers for the last decade. Texas, the second-largest state in the union, still has only three Tier One universities, the University of Texas, Texas A&M University and Rice University.

"This is a great day for the state of Texas as a whole, the University of Houston and for education in the state of Texas," said Ellis. "HB 1000 will likely provide the University of Houston nearly $20 million to make help them cross the finish line and become a nationally recognized Tier One institution."

Last session, Texas created the National Research University Fund, to provide research funding to help develop additional Tier One universities for Texas. There is currently over $600 million in the fund available to assist qualifying universities. Currently, three universities appear to be eligible for NRUF funds in the initial phase, the University of Houston and Texas Tech University; the University of Texas at Dallas is next in line. Under HB 1000, the University of Houston would likely receive $20 million for the biennium.

Under HB 1000, 4.5 percent of the fund would be distributed to qualifying universities, and a formula is established to ensure all eligible schools receive at least a significant portion of the allocation for the year.[1]

"Texas currently has the same number of Tier One universities - three -- as it did decades ago, despite our rapid growth and the evolving economic marketplace," said Ellis. "Texas has become a leader in scientific research and technology, but our investment in our institutions has lagged far, far beyond the demand and need for world-class universities. HB 1000 dedicates more funding to higher education and prepares Texas for a brighter future."

[1] Under the plan, 4.5% of the net market value of the fund is allocated; 1) one-seventh to go to each qualified institution; and (2) an equal share of any amount remaining after distributions are calculated under (1), not to exceed an amount equal to 25% of that remaining amount.