I just have one question about this.
At a time of record enrollment in Texas’ colleges and universities, a state budget proposal released this week would see these institutions suffer a 7.6 percent funding cut from the last biennial budget.
University presidents called the proposed cuts, which total $1.7 billion, “dramatic” and “drastic.” The current budget was balanced on the back of higher education, which absorbed 41.5 percent of the cuts despite comprising just 12.5 percent of the budget.
This proposal for the 2010-2011 biennium, rolled out Tuesday by Texas Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, would see far less of the overall cut come from colleges and universities — but the cuts still are disproportionate, said University of Houston system president Renu Khator.
Khator and other Texas university presidents must serve rising numbers of students on falling revenue. Universities saw their combined enrollment jump 35 percent, to 557,550 students, from fall 2000 to last fall. Community colleges saw a 67 percent enrollment leap over the same period, to 720,379 students.
In what universe does this make sense? Everyone says – even the Republicans – that higher education is important, that it fuels growth, that we need to get more kids in college and more kids to graduate from college if we want Texas to be economically competitive in the future. If we actually believe that, then what the hell are we doing?