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We are not alone with our budget challenges

‘Apocalyptic’ Budget Sends Waves of Fear Across Texas Higher Education

By Katherine Mangan

Texas higher-education officials were reeling on Wednesday after lawmakers released a preliminary budget proposal that would slash financial aid, close four two-year colleges, and eliminate programs aimed at meeting the needs of the state’s growing Hispanic population.

Republican lawmakers in the House, who have gained a stronger majority since November’s elections, have vowed to plug a state deficit estimated at up to $27-billion over the coming biennium without raising taxes or tapping into the state’s $9.4-billion rainy-day fund.

The Texas Senate is expected to unveil its spending plan next week. But the House’s preliminary plan, which provides a stark outlook compared with the relatively healthy financial picture painted just a few years ago, gave colleges here plenty to worry about.

Under the House’s plan for the next two-year budget cycle, Texas colleges and universities would lose $772-million, or 7.6 percent of their state funds. The cuts would include nearly $100-million each for the flagship campuses of Texas A&M University and the University of Texas.

The state’s student-aid programs would take some of the biggest hits.


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