The University of Texas System Board of Regents approved a $138.7 million operating budget for The University of Texas-Pan American for the 2002 fiscal year.
The budget, approved by regents at their recent quarterly board meeting, is an 18.6 percent increase from the 2001 fiscal year budget of almost $117 million and the second largest percentage budget jump among UT's nine academic universities. The fiscal year begins Sept. 1.
A significant portion of the budget increase is in restricted grants and contracts, which are acquired through faculty and staff efforts to receive funding for research and service. For the coming fiscal year, there is a $5,364,741 increase compared to this year.
Among the highlights of the 2002 fiscal year budget is a new office to oversee and increase research efforts, complete with a new associate vice president for research position. More than $800,000 in special state funding also will be allocated - $350,000 for the Texas-Mexico Border Health Office, $300,000 for the cooperative pharmacy doctorate program and $150,000 for a Starr County Upper Level center.
UTPA continues to be a strong benefactor of the Toward Excellence Access & Success (TEXAS) Grant program, with a $5.6 million increase in funding provided over the current fiscal year. The program enables well-prepared qualified students to attend public, nonprofit institutions of higher education in Texas.
"This budget has as one of it elements a very substantial increase in funding to assist students with their financial ability to attend the University," said James Langabeer, UTPA vice president for Business Affairs. "We have been fortunate to receive this TEXAS Grant and hope the Valley students take full advantage of it."
Regarding excellence funding, $15,585,525 was allocated for the entire UT System for instruction/academic support, research and student services. UTPA will receive $98,993 in research funds to cover provost awards, technology in teaching awards, undergraduate research awards, graduate assistantships and faculty colloquium awards.
Excellence funding was established to promote the development of academic centers of excellence by increased research and to develop institutional excellence at general academic teaching institutions.
In terms of personnel, there is slightly more than $975,000 set aside for 34.5 new full-time equivalent staff positions at the University. This includes 11 computer lab support staff, a records manager, a retention coordinator and a residence life coordinator. There also will be 13.5 new faculty full-time equivalent positions totaling nearly $557,000.
Further, there are several special institutional enhancement projects in the new UTPA budget. About $900,000 is earmarked for student service projects, including housing scholarships, peer assistance leadership scholarships for foster children and recruitment funds. Another $1.2 million will go for scholarships in areas such as engineering, business, computer science, pre-med and the Physician's Assistant Program.
Several specialized and region-specific faculty research projects also are funded for the coming fiscal year - the Center on Aging, Mexican-American Folk Medicine and Borderland Studies. Funds are allocated to consider the feasibility of additional programs or to develop new programs, including a master in music, master in pediatric nursing, master in physics, minor in women's studies, a civil engineering program and others.
Meanwhile, the Board of Regents also approved a six-year, $3.4 billion capital improvements program for the UT System, including $39.6 million for UTPA.
"Another very important funding event during this session was the Tuition Revenue Bonding authority we received," Langabeer said.
"Thanks to efforts of the Valley delegation and the work of our president, Dr. Miguel A. Nevárez, UTPA received bonding authority to address facility expansion and refurbishment. Our current CIP addresses projects for utility improvements, additions to and renovation of our Education Complex, a newly designed campus entrance and visitors center and various renovations to other buildings."
Revised and extended every two years, the CIP encompasses 154 projects, including $2.8 billion worth of new construction projects and $577 million worth of repair and rehabilitation projects. Some projects have been continued from the previous six-year program.
The CIP and the two-year capital budget are approved for planning purposes. Each major construction project must be brought to the board for individual approval.
Overall, the Board of Regents approved a $6.38 billion operating budget for fiscal year 2002 for the 15-campus University of Texas System. Total expenditures for the new budget are 9.8 percent higher than the current fiscal year.