University sees first positive net revenue since state funding cuts

News Reporter

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Texas State’s net revenue has increased slowly despite steady enrollment growth.

Texas State’s revenue from state appropriations and student tuition and fees is greater than its expenses for the first time since the legislature cut funding to universities beginning in 2003, according to administrators.

The university’s net revenue is determined by appropriations from the state legislature as well as students’ tuition and fees minus any expenses, said Bill Nance, vice president of Finance and Support Services. Provost Eugene Bourgeois said the university received an estimated increase of $9.4 million in appropriations last year from the state legislature, expanding the overall budget this fiscal year.  

Net revenue funds previously remained at a steady rate over the past 10 years in comparison to the amount of expenses paid by the university due to “dramatic” decreases in state appropriations, Nance said. In 2012, the university’s state appropriation per student was 22 percent less than the Texas average, according to the Texas State University System website.

“So for the last 10 years, I would have to say, fractionally, no, we’ve haven’t kept up just because of that steep decline in legislative appropriation,” Nance said.

However, last year’s legislative session saw the first real increase in the university’s state appropriations since 2003, Nance said. In addition to state appropriations, an increasing number of students paying tuition and fees helps give the university more available funding in its net revenue total.

In fall 2013, the university saw an increase in freshman enrollment compared to the previous year. Approximately 5,181 new freshmen attended Texas State in the fall, while the previous year there were only 4,251, Bourgeois said.

State legislators determine the allocation of increases in the university’s appropriations by calculating the total number of students and enrolled semester credit hours, Bourgeois said. The university also receives more funding from courses in certain subjects, such as science, than liberal arts and graduate classes, he said.

“We probably saw some benefit, some financial gain, from now having more engineering and nursing semester credit hours calculated into our appropriation,” Bourgeois said.

Financial aid plays a factor in Texas State’s expenditures each year. University officials have put more funding toward financial aid since 2003, Nance said. Institutional funding for financial aid is provided by endowments and the interest generated for money that is spent, said Christopher Murr, director of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

For fiscal year 2014, the university brought in an estimated $273.2 million from tuition and fees and state appropriations. This funding is made up of about $44.2 million in tuition ordered by the state in the Texas Education Code, an estimated $143.9 million in tuition determined by the university itself and around $75.7 million in other registration fees, according to the operating budget.

The university’s expenditures total about $265.1 million with about $107.7 million in faculty salaries, $97 million in staff salaries, $29.8 million in utilities and $30.6 million in financial aid for fiscal year 2014.

With $9.4 million in state appropriations factored in, the university’s net revenue for fiscal year 2014 is about $8.1 million.

The president’s cabinet adminstrators discuss how the university’s net revenue will be spent and allocated, Bourgeois said. One priority of the university’s budget is to provide faculty and staff to accomodate enrollment growth and new degree programs, he said.