Why to Give

The University of Texas at Austin Department of Computer Science (UTCS) is the largest in the nation and the only top ten ranked computer science department within 1,000 miles of Austin. UTCS is renowned for educational excellence, as a leading-edge research center, and is a critical economic force for Central Texas. UTCS’s estimated economic impact to the growth of Texas is $8.7 billion annually (The Perryman Group, an economic consulting firm).

If The University of Texas at Austin is a public institution, why does it seek private support?

The state share of the university’s budget is shrinking even as UT Austin pursues its most ambitious goal yet — to be the best public research university in the nation.

For example, in 1984-85 the state of Texas contributed 47 percent of the university’s budget. Today that share is only 13 percent.

Another part of the university’s funding structure is the often-misunderstood Permanent University Fund, or PUF. If you’ve heard that the University is “rich” from oil money, you’ve heard about the PUF. But — no matter how romantic the notion of UT as oil baron and wealthy institution may be — the facts tell a different story.

Texas does use some oil revenue to help fund higher education, just as other states draw upon their industries to support public services. The PUF isn’t “extra” money — it’s part of the state’s higher-education funding structure.

PUF assets include more than 2 million acres of oil- and mineral-producing land in West Texas. However, the revenue from these acres does not go exclusively to UT Austin but to 17 institutions in the Texas A&M and University of Texas Systems. UT Austin’s share (the Available University Fund or AUF) for fiscal 2012-13 is $199 million out of the university’s $2.35 billion budget. That’s 8 percent, compared with 12 percent in 1984-85.

At the same time, the university continues to offer tuition and fees that are lower than many of its peers. Resident tuition and fees at UT Austin rank fourth lowest out of a peer group of nine state universities. Tuition and fees account for one-fourth (25 percent) of the university’s 2012-13 budget.

The majority of funding for UT Austin comes from sources other than the state of Texas. State funding alone is not what makes The University of Texas a university of the first class. But thanks to private support, UT drives economic, social, and cultural progress as one of the world’s most powerful centers of learning, research, and creativity.