It’s been a banner year for University of Houston System (UHS) institutions. System campuses experienced record enrollment and graduation numbers; groundbreaking research initiatives have earned recognition across the nation, and students across the system are engaged in a range of initiatives aimed at bolstering classroom success and readiness for the workforce.
Recognizing the need to maintain this momentum, the UHS Board of Regents approved a $1.8 billion budget aimed at strengthening student success and access, retaining talented faculty and expanding campus facilities and resources. The FY2017 budget was approved during the board’s May 19 meeting and will go into effect on Sept. 1.
The UH System includes four universities: the University of Houston (UH), UH-Clear Lake (UHCL), UH-Downtown (UHD) and UH-Victoria (UHV).
Student success and access initiatives will comprise two-thirds of the system’s total operating budget, and its capital budget is $247 million, an increase of $58 million from FY2016. Each UHS institution is also committing funds to faculty and staff retention initiatives.
A further breakdown of the FY2017 budget is as follows:
- UH - $1.3 billion: UH’s FY2017 budget includes $31 million of new and reallocated operating resources. These funds will support a number of UH priorities including:
- Student success and access initiatives ($17 million) - need-based financial aid; new faculty; strengthened advising and student support staff; the development of new online courses; student support resources including counselors and career services professionals; improved campus services such as housing and meal plans; a prospective incentive plan for commuters using alternative transportation (public transportation, car/van pools)
- National competitiveness ($9 million) - faculty retention initiatives including a 2 percent merit-based raise pool, a competitive compensation pool, new tenure-track faculty positions
- University infrastructure and administration ($5 million) – staff retention and benefits including a 2 percent merit-based raise pool; administrative support initiatives including enhanced public safety initiatives; facilities planning; employee wellness services
UH also is committing $52 million in Higher Education Assistance Funds (HEAF) to capital renewal and improvement plans to renovate and upgrade campus buildings and upgrade campus information technology, equipment and UH Department of Public Safety vehicles.
- UH-Clear Lake - $170 million: UHCL is entering its third year as a four-year institution. Its FY2017 budget includes $9 million in new and reallocated funding to support a number of UHCL priorities including:
- Student success and access ($6 million) – academic and student support initiatives; new faculty; four year initiative including scholarships and staffing; a new STEM Building; a new Recreation and Wellness Center
- National competitiveness ($1 million) – faculty recruitment and retention including a 4 percent merit-based and competitive compensation pool; faculty development
- University infrastructure and administration ($2 million) - staff recruitment and retention including a 4 percent merit-based and competitive compensation pool; staff benefits; operations support; information technology
- UH-Downtown - $185 million: UHD opened its new Welcome Center during FY2016, introduced new academic offerings, and as part of its accreditation process, hosted an onsite team from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It is applying $8 million in new and reallocated resources to support a number of UHD priorities including:
- Student access and success ($6 million) – increased financial aid and student support; initiatives to assist in improving retention and graduation rates; new faculty in high demand areas; expanded academic facilities and equipment
- University infrastructure and administration ($2 million) – staff recruitment and retention, including a one-time merit-based stipend pool; upgrades and maintenance of physical plant; added campus security and safety personnel; administration and operations staffing and support
- UH-Victoria - $131 million: During the past year, UHV launched a new arts center in downtown Victoria and began transitioning programming into a new facility in Katy that will open in August. UHV will dedicate $4 million in new and reallocated resources to support a number of UHV priorities including:
- Student access and success ($3 million) – need-based financial aid; new faculty in critical areas; continued efforts to make UHV a destination campus; enhanced student recruitment, retention and graduation initiatives; new faculty and additional academic concentrations; transition to UH System Katy facility; increased online programs and multiple delivery systems
- University infrastructure and administration ($1 million) – enhanced information technology to support new online course delivery and class registration; operational support; staff recruitment and retention including merit-based and competitive compensation for staff members; student transportation services including buses; upgrades to facilities; capital projects