Permanent University Fund


Our University is inherently and expressively in a disadvantageous position because of the Public University Fund. Coogs in the State Legislature in Austin must raise the issue because we are getting killed financially. We have to.

(shharper01) #2

Probably just as easy to raise awareness that we need more funding for all public universities in Texas.


I reached out to my State Representative via twitter and email regarding this. He is an aggy though.

(Bill F.) #4

Pose it as we need equal shares for the 3 major public universities… then it Hurts UT, not TAMU, as UT gets 2/3 and TAMU only gets 1/3


I’d even give a share to TTU


The right thing for the people of Texas is for the PUF to be shared by
all public universities, split based on a formula consisting of student
enrollment and regional population.

Not only is this the right thing, it allows for a state wide collation to be build to finally break the duopoly of control.


UT Austin received 238 million dollars from the fund last year. We received 0. UH has a huge delegation at the state legislature. We have to shake things up. We have no other recourse.

When the University of Texas actually opened in 1883, supporters of the university pushed the legislature to appropriate another million acres for the endowment. The land chosen for this purpose was also in West Texas and was thought to be of little commercial value. The income it generated was primarily from grazing leases and amounted to only $40,000 in 1900. Early regents of the university kept the land in hopes of obtaining a better price through sale at a future date. May 28, 1923, was the watershed date for the PUF. On that day Frank Pickrell and Carl G. Cromwell brought in the Santa Rita oilwellqv on university property in Reagan County. Because the oil profits were treated as principal rather than income, the proceeds from Santa Rita and other wells were reinvested instead of being spent. By 1925 the Permanent University Fund was growing by more than $2,000 a day. In 1931 the legislature authorized a split in the net income from PUF investments, with the University of Texas to receive two-thirds of the money and Texas A&M to receive one-third. The universities could issue bonds against a percentage of the fund, so long as the indebtedness did not exceed 20 percent of the permanent fund. The first priority for each system’s portion of the available fund was the retirement of bonded indebtedness for construction or rehabilitation of campus buildings; the remaining money was for academic enrichment at the University of Texas and Texas A&M University. By the late 1950s the market value of the PUF exceeded $283,642,000 and provided investment income of more than $8,513,000 annually for distribution to the two university systems.

In the early 1990s programs benefiting from available fund money at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University at College Station included instruction, research equipment, library acquisitions, scholarships, recruitment, and student services such as counseling and career center services. In 1990 the PUF stood at $3,541,314,800 and generated $266,119,000 for the available fund. See also LAND APPROPRIATIONS FOR EDUCATION, and PUBLIC LANDS.

(shharper01) #8

Doesn’t UH split some auxiliary Tier 1 money with UTD, TX Tech and others? It’s amazing that UT-Austin gets that much money each year and is still ranked #57 (tied with SMU). I guess the PUF has remained while other public funding has dried up.


Thanks for the history @cougars9199. I never understood what the PUF was all about and now I certainly don’t understand why it doesn’t benefit all public universities in Texas.


While I doubt it would ever pass an amendment opening up the PUF to other schools such as UH should at least be pushed for as soon as possible.

That said we’ll never get the 2/3 vote in the legislature to put it on the ballot. Maybe if we tie it to marijuana legalization though it might stand a chance?

(Mike) #11

History. When the PUF was created other schools were just dots on a map. UT was the big dog and most legislators were UT alums and the capital which sits next to - you guessed it - UT. A&M, if I remember correctly only got in after filing a lawsuit. Maybe someone else could elaborate on that. Bottom line, the PUF was an early 20th century contrivance when a lot of Texas communities were just getting indoor plumbing and electricity.

As for redoing it, it probably can be done. Anything can with enough votes, but this one is a whopper. If you spread it too thin it loses much of its value anyway. Best to designate a group of Tier One research universities which of course would include UH and Texas Tech. There would be enough money for the few to push forward with academic development to help bring our educational system up to a level approximating California and New York. Not completely on level, but certainly closer than anything we have today.

(shharper01) #12

I’ve suggested opening up the PUF since I was in school in the late '80s. I think there’s some extra money they set aside for other Tier 1 programs for excellence funding. When the PUF was allocated, A&M truly was an ag/military school. U of Houston didn’t even exist in its four year University form for three years after the legislature authorized the split in funds.

(Patrick) #13

Yes, NRUF.

However, UH has been getting less and less from NRUF and Tech has been getting more and more. It also doesn’t help that the fund is split among many schools that will all be pulling from it in the near future.

(shharper01) #14

Why is Tech getting more at our expense?

(Patrick) #15

Disregard, my mistake; it’s not NRUF that we are getting less funding from - we get equal funding from it - it’s TRIP that Tech has been getting a larger share from.

NRUF payouts:

TRIP payouts:

More on TRIP:

Basically, Tech is doing a better job of getting donors to fund their research projects (UT-Dallas too) and the state matches.

(Chris) #16

The truth of the matter is that PUF was created with the noblest intention. Remember this was about creating PUBLIC universities. Then shortly after uta was created, using these funds they HIGHJACKED it.
None of this would be permitted outside of Texas. It would be challenged in court and deemed illegal.

(shharper01) #17

How did UT hijack it back in 1931?

(Chris) #18

Look back at the timeline of the PUF.
What was the intent of PUF’s creation?
How did it changed from the original intent?
Who has benefited it from it?
uta highjacked it as soon as they could. They wanted a monopoly. This was against all principles of why the PUF was created. When atm was created they had to take uta to court to get 1/3 of it. uta reluctantly accepted it after politicians got in the middle of it. With this “deal” uta and atm re-wrote the by-laws to EXCLUDE any other PUBLIC universities.
Today uta and atm are where they are because of the PUF.
The very fact that both uta and atm refuse to open this so called PUBLIC fund is beyond belief. The last time I checked both are PUBLIC schools not private schools. It is highly shameful.


Why can’t UH sue and use the same tactic that worked for ATM? I would think, with enough media coverage and the large UH alumni base, people would move the needle and see how much more beneficial it would be to open up the PUF to public top tier 1 research institutions. With facebook, twitter, youtube, reddit, online forums, etc… UH could make significant progress in educating the public in how the PUF should be for open for TOP TIER 1 PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES.

(Chris) #20

There has been an off/on legal fight(s) for decades now. I am not a lawyer and this is under Texas law so it probably will always be decided within Texas.
To our lawyers:
How can this be overturned to benefit every single public universities?
The goal was to help public education. It was not designed to be restricted to two schools.
Just imagine if the PUF had been distributed equally over the years?