"It is really good for Texas Tech and (the University of) Houston, the University of Texas at Dallas and perhaps UT Arlington because all those schools are basically moving very quickly in that direction, along with the other schools," Duncan said.
Tech, the University of Houston, the UT campuses at Arlington, Dallas, El Paso and San Antonio, and Denton-based University of North Texas are the seven so-called "emerging universities" in the state under consideration for flagship status.
The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University in College Station and the private Rice University are the only tier-one schools in the state.
HB 1000 will give Tech and the other schools the final push to get the prestigious designation, Duncan and Tech Chancellor Kent Hance have said in separate interviews.
"This is a bill that I think is a wise distribution methodology," Duncan said. "It means approximately $9 million a year for Texas Tech whenever they get in, a year."
Equally important, HB 1000 allows the National Research University Fund to keep growing, Duncan said in reference to an endowment fund of $615 million the Texas Legislature created in 2009 with the approval of Texas voters.
Hance said in a recent interview that with this legislation Tech is on track for tier one for 2013. Duncan agreed and went a step further Wednesday. The school could get the designation even sooner, he said.
Rep. John Frullo, one of seven co-authors of HB 1000, said he is just glad the bill finally passed this session.
"This is the final push Tech needs to get tier one," Frullo said.
In Texas and throughout the nation the flagship designation is highly coveted not only because of the prestige for the universities that earn the title but because such institutions are usually first in line to get government research grants. Elite universities also attract major research contracts from top industries and are a big boost to local and state economies.