Texas State Technical College went out on a limb a few years ago in a joint venture with the state to implement a new funding formula unique from all other public colleges and universities in the state.
This outcomes based funding formula was not only going to benefit TSTC and its students by making them more efficient, but it would especially benefit the state and its economy.
Based on the new formula, TSTC would receive funding based on how many students graduated and went on to contribute to the workforce for five years — thereby, creating tax payers who contribute to the state’s economy.
This new funding formula requires TSTC to assume all of the risk, and creates a lag in funding, while the state gets to sit back and let them prove they can earn the funding they need. While other public colleges receive funding with the assumption they are producing future tax payers, TSTC must first prove they produce tax payers before they can receive their funding.
TSTC is the only college in the state to operate on this new formula and TSTC officials and administration had to make significant and costly changes, across its 10 campuses to make the new formula work.
The proof is in the pudding. TSTC has now held up its end of the deal by proving it trains students based on specific industry needs, allowing them to go on and fill in-demand jobs and become contributing tax payers to the state economy.
The state, however, did not hold up its end of the deal.
During the past legislative session’s tough budget cycle, TSTC was shorted about $25 million it had already earned based on its agreed upon funding formula with the state.
Legislators blamed the lean higher education budget and said many colleges received a reduction in funding but TSTC should not be treated like any other college. TSTC made a promise to the state and delivered. The state made a promise and reneged.
TSTC’s total funding received from the state makes up only about 2 percent of the state’s total higher education budget. If cuts were needed in the budget, they should have come from other areas, not from TSTC whom the state already owed funding.
The problem is that most lawmakers don’t even understand the funding formula TSTC has going with the state. TSTC has worked throughout the interim legislative period to educate lawmakers about their unique funding agreement.
These lawmakers, especially those from the districts that house TSTC campuses, have a responsibility to make sure the state’s promise to TSTC is kept in the upcoming state budget cycle and legislative session.
It’s time the state step up to the plate and ensure TSTC receives the funding they’ve earned.
TSTC deserves better than more broken promises from politicians.