Universities Deal With $2.7 Billion Tuition Revenue Bond Shortage

Aug 20, 2013

From the tail end of the regular legislative session until the last seconds of the final special session of the summer, 60 Texas colleges and universities held their breath wondering if Gov. Rick Perry would add legislation to provide an extra $2.7 billion in tuition revenue bonds to complete various projects on campuses.

Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, authored a bill with bipartisan support to cover the money, but Perry didn't add it to the special sessions.

"We always held out hope that it would be called and unfortunately it wasn’t," said Gary Susswein, director of media relations with the University of Texas-Austin, "but as I’ve said, that’s not stopping us from staying focused on this and its not stopping us from trying to raise and identify the money we need."

Susswain said UT is looking at other avenues for money while working to break ground on two new buildings, one for science and another for engineering. But just 30 minutes south of Austin, the absence of money is holding up construction at Texas State University-San Marcos.

"At this stage we have no contingency plan for addressing space needs for our two highest priority facilities -- that’s an engineering and science building for our main campus and a health professions building for our Round Rock campus," said Jayme Blaschke, director of University News Service at Texas State University-San Marcos.

Texas A&M-San Antonio was planning on using the added revenue to move its research facility to the school's main campus, but that project has been put on hold.