"As Texas celebrates its 176th anniversary, the results of our Tier One Initiative are becoming more evident every day," said House Higher Education Chairman Dan Branch (R-Dallas). "This initiative, approved by the voters, is a game changer for Texas higher education and the future of our state. Not only are some universities progressing faster than anticipated, but the field is growing as well."
In January, Texas State University-San Marcos became the latest member to join the ranks of Emerging Research Universities in Texas. Texas State joins Texas Tech, University of Houston, University of North Texas, UT Arlington, UT Dallas, UT El Paso and UT San Antonio.
All eight universities qualify for the Texas Research Incentive Program (TRIP), a Tier One Initiative state fund that matches private donations to universities for enhancing research or improving faculty and student quality. To date, UT Dallas is winning this part of the competition. Over the course of four years, the TRIP has invested over $192 million in our emerging research universities; an investment of $83 million in state dollars that attracted $109 million in private dollars.
"At a time of limited public dollars, this creative program is attracting more private dollars to Texas higher education," Chairman Branch said. "Many of our universities are using the Tier One Initiative as a battle cry to drive student completions, teaching excellence and enhanced research to new levels on their campuses."
House Bill 51, the 2009 legislation that created the Tier One Initiative, was authored by Rep. Branch and Senate sponsor Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo). The new law created a competition to increase the number of Tier One universities in Texas. Along with companion legislation, the bill created multiple incentives to improve excellence at many Texas public universities, especially emerging research universities. One recognized benchmark for defining Tier One universities is membership in the American Association of Universities (AAU). At present, Texas has three universities that are members of the AAU: University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M University and Rice University. In 2011, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching awarded the University of Houston its highest level designation for research universities.