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Volume 68, Issue 151, Wednesday, June 25, 2003


Staff Editorial


                            Bridget Brown    Matthew Dulin 
Geronimo Rodriguez      Keenan Singleton     Lisa Street

Financial setback

Under budget cuts made by Gov. Rick Perry, UH will lose $5.7 million in research funding that would have been received from the Texas Excellence fund -- a budget adjustment Perry says UH will benefit from.

But letis face it, less research funding means higher tuition and fees for students, less money for salaries, scholarships, renovations and graduate programs. 

UH will feel repercussions from this budget cut, not benefits. Now that Perry has eliminated funding for the Texas Excellence Fund, the University Research Fund and the Higher Education Coordinating Board Advanced Research Program, it will be tougher for UH to compete with the University of Texas and Texas A&M University for research grants.

A new law that allows universities to keep their overhead costs when awarding a grant instead of handing over 50 percent to the state to pay for overhead will mean $100 million more for universities over the biennium, Gene Acuna, a spokesperson for the governor told the Houston Chronicle.

But if state universities like UH do not rank high in research grants like Texas A&M and UT, there will be more loss than gain.

UH President and System Chancellor Arthur K. Smith said UH expects only $3.3 million in additional research money -- a significant decrease from the $9 million UH would have received if Perry had not drastically cut research funding.

In February, more than 500 students, faculty and staff lobbied in Austin for the "One Fund" bill. It would combine the Texas Excellence Fund and University Research Fund into one $70 million pool all state universities could tap, which was approved by the Legislature in May. Now almost 325,000 students will lose out on the benefits from those research funds.

Since UH will look for ways to make up for the loss, there is no doubt students can look fearfully forward to higher tuition in the spring. Also seeing that funding may be exceptionally low, only specific research areas will benefit, therefore student research programs may be under-funded or possibly even put on hold.

There are no benefits from being cut for funding, especially if the university is already struggling.
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