The month of May brought us the completion of another successful academic year. It is always rewarding to see the hope and the ambition in the eyes of the graduates of Sul Ross State University.
May was also very significant in that the 86th Legislature completed the work of their session in Austin. Of paramount interest was House Bill 1 (HB 1), which provided funding for higher education. In summary, it was a very good session in terms of support for higher education in Texas. Highlights of HB 1 included an increase in Formula General Revenue by 7.5%, which included increasing the Instruction Rate by 2%, increasing the Infrastructure Rate by 1.7%, and increasing the Small Institution Supplement to 2.75%. HB1 also included: restoring research funding to FY 16/17 levels; maintaining funding for Texas Research Incentive Program; maintaining FY 18/19 hold harmless funding; increasing financial aid funding by $80 million; maintaining health insurance rates; and expanding the Higher Education Funding in allow cloud-based software purchases.
Specific to Sul Ross, the Formula General Revenue funding for the Alpine campus will increase 5.1% and we will maintain our hold harmless funding at $1.2 million. The Formula General Revenue funding for the Middle Rio Grande campuses will increase 14%. All in all, it was a very good legislative session for higher education. The Governor, the Lt. Governor, and the Speaker of the House each stood tall in their support of higher education and their recognition of the importance of higher education for the future of Texas. Our Texas State University System staff worked tirelessly and effectively in supporting and communicating our needs and the mission and purpose of each of our member institutions. We are exceptionally grateful for their efforts.
Believe or not, the Summer is almost over and there is much excitement in the air as we anticipate the beginning of a new academic year. The first day of classes for the Fall is Monday, August 26.
Every two years, Sul Ross hosts the Board of Regents and the Texas State University System staff for their quarterly Board Meeting. We will be hosting that meeting on August 22-23 on the Sul Ross campus in Alpine. That will be immediately followed by a very exciting new initiative for all of our new students called Camp Brand ‘Em. This intense experience for all our new Lobos is intended to allow them to learn the keys to academic success; understand the Sul Ross student experience and culture; learn how to get involved in campus life; learn the Sul Ross traditions, songs and legends; bond with a cohort of fellow new students; and begin their mentoring experience with their upperclass Lobo Ambassador. The final event will be our New Student Convocation where the faculty and staff officially welcome all our new students. These events will take place on Saturday and Sunday, August 24-25.
This issue of Frontier View will provide you with numerous additional developments as we move toward an exciting beginning for the 2019-2020 academic year. We encourage all of you to come visit us this Fall and be a part of a range of exciting events, including: football, soccer, volleyball, and cross country; the Ranch Rodeo and Intercollegiate Rodeo; Museum of the Big Bend events; Homecoming activities and the list goes on and on!
Please come visit us on campus!