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A Message from UTSA President Ricardo Romo
January 25, 2013
The start of 2013 brings a new session of the Texas Legislature, with lawmakers gathering to address the state's many needs including higher education. I will be spending time in Austin during the session meeting with legislators to help them understand UTSA's needs and point of view. I also wanted to share some of those thoughts with you.
There are four key areas I am focused on: funding for faculty and student support programs, paying for new facilities to support our student population, financial aid resources for students, and state matching funds to attract more research initiatives. These directly affect student access and success.
Currently, UTSA has a student-faculty ratio of 26:1. UTSA's enrollment has grown by more than 39 percent over the last decade, placing a significant strain on available resources. Greater funding would help us hire new faculty and expand support services that enhance student success.
Another important issue is how we pay for new facilities. As we advance to Tier One status, it is vital that we have the classrooms and laboratories to accommodate enrollment growth. UTSA was built for 21,000 students, but we now have more than 30,000 students. We are asking the Legislature to approve revenue bonds to provide a much-needed $92 million experimental science instructional building.
Last biennium, UTSA experienced a 30 percent reduction in state-funded TEXAS grants, which provide student aid. With 70 percent of our students receiving financial support, we are hopeful that TEXAS grants funding will be restored.
Finally, we are seeking additional state funding through the Texas Research Incentive Program, or TRIP, to help match private financial gifts used to recruit faculty, provide graduate fellowships and build research capacity. This is critical for our progression toward Tier One research status.
These are a few of the issues of importance to our university and our city that we will be watching in the days ahead. I am tremendously grateful to the Bexar County Legislative Delegation for all its efforts on behalf of UTSA and to the entire San Antonio community for its continuing advocacy. Investing in UTSA is investing in our community.
The University of Texas at San Antonio