Texas Tech may not be breaking total enrollment records again this year, but that has not stopped the university from setting other records in enrollment as well as funding for research and institutional advancement.
As the financial year closes at the end of the month, Texas Tech is expected to exceed $212 million in research expenditures and $230 million in advancement funds, both exceeding internal goals and breaking funding records for the institution.
“This year we will set a record for total research expenditures – in excess of $210 million,” Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec said. “That’s more than 20% greater than where it was five years ago.”
A highlight of this is the university will for the first time exceed $43 million in federal research expenditures. This benchmark is used to rank top research universities, Schovanec said, adding this has been something the institution has been working on for years.
Schovanec said Tech also received more than $90 million in new research awards, of which, 60% is from the federal government.
“Research expenditures, just like philanthropic gifts, are a source of unrestricted funds that help us support much of what we do here,” Schovanec said.
The funding can go toward student scholarships, salaries for students, faculty and staff, facilities and graduate support resources.
Schovanec said not only will these funds impact those on campus but also the regional economy as well.
According to numbers provided to the Avalanche-Journal, the institution received in August a $26 million grant from the National Science Foundation to fund the Center for Advancing Sustainable and Distributed Fertilizer for an initial five years.
“Some of the major outcomes of that research will be addressing issues of food security, sustainable agricultural practices and lessening our dependence on foreign sources of fertilizer,” Schovanec said. “We’ve always tried to do what we think is so important to West Texas and our agricultural community, but state and national issues are national and international issues.”
The $51 million grant also has Texas Tech pairing up with some of the top research institutions in the nation such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgia Insitute of Technology, Case Western Reserve University and Florida A&M.
Schovanec said by partnering up with these institutions, it shows just how far Tech has come along in being a significant player in research.
Gifts to the university exceed the institution’s goal of $120 million.
Schovanec said there were several big donations made to the university this year.
“The $44 million gift from Joyce and Gordon Davis for the Davis college was very significant,” Schovanec said. “Regent Dusty Womble and Regent Cody Campbell also made two awards – $20 million and $25 million respectively – to athletics.”
The Davis family’s gift to Tech was the single largest philanthropic donation received in the school’s history. For the donation to Tech, the Gordon W. Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, formerly known as CASNR, was named after Gordon, a former professor in the college.
More:$44M for a ‘sleeping giant’ – Texas Tech gets single-largest gift in school history
The second gift comes from Tech System Regent Dustin “Dusty” Womble, who gifted $20 million to the new Red Raider Football training center which is named after him, the Dustin R. Womble Football Center.
More:Tech announces name, $20 million gift for Dustin R. Womble Football Center
The third gift was from Tech System Regent Cody Campbell, a former Red Raider football player who gifted $25 million to the south end zone renovation project at Jones AT&T Stadium. The university named the field at the stadium the Cody Campbell Field after him.
More:Texas Tech announces $25 million gift for stadium south end zone project
In total, Schovanec said athletics raised around $100 million but the academic side of the institution raised $130 million, the largest the academic side has raised so far.
Part of the $130 million from the academic side is the $340,000 from the inaugural Day of Giving.
“More than 1,400 people donated to that,” Schovanec said. “25% were faculty and staff, but also what was encouraging about that Day of Giving was there were a lot of smaller gifts from first-time donors.”
Schovanec said he could not be more grateful to alumni and supporters of Tech.
The gifts would be going to help support scholarship funds for students, Schovanec said.
“Last year we awarded more than $200 million in scholarships support from all sources to our students. That’s up from about $130 million 5 years ago,” he said.
This makes Tech competitive in recruiting students, such as National Merit Finalists and Presidential Merit Scholars, who have options to go elsewhere.
Tech won’t break total enrollment records for the 14th year this year; however, Schovanec said it is not a cause for concern.
The reason for this drop in students is due to the university cutting a no-tuition off-campus program for high school students that had around 570 students.
“It was supported by a grant and the grant funding expired,” he said. “We surveyed the students and determined that it wasn’t that impactful and so we could not justify the revenue loss we would have incurred by maintaining the program.”
However, the university did set a new first-year class record of 6,850 students, Schovanec said. According to the university, this is a 2.6% increase from last fall.
“The quality and qualifications of our students have never been higher. We had a record number of applications this year – more than 40,000,” he said. “We were more selective and that’s reflected in the top 10% of the class that was 23% (of the first-year students).”
According to the university, there is twice the number amount of first-generation students in this class, as well as an increase in Hispanic students. Black and African-American student enrollments are up by 50%.
This year, Tech also has 97 National Merit Finalists enrolled and over 4,400 Presidential Merit Scholars.
Achievements & Impact
With all of these records in enrollments, research expenditures and funds for the institution’s advancement, Schovanec said it speaks to Tech growing as a leader in higher education.
“I was visiting with some alumni last week and one of them said to me ‘I feel my degree as more today is worth more today than it was when I graduated,’” he said. “I believe that the growing stature of our university makes those degrees even more valuable.”
Through the investments the university has made to the faculty and facilities, Schovanec said Tech has been gaining traction in the higher education ranking systems.
“We’ve moved up to 152 in Forbes, which puts a large emphasis on return on investment,” he said. “In student success – we were fourth in the Big 12 One of the most prestigious global rankings, Academic World University Rankings came out. We moved up into the category of 401 to 500. No more than 20,000 universities in that ranking. So that’s the top 1.2%.”
Out of the named Big 12 institutions in the AWUR, Tech was rank third behind the University of Texas and Kansas.
However, regarding accolades and achievements in national and global rankings systems, Schovanec said parents and students should look at them with a grain of salt. What matters more is the kind of education a student receives.
“We want to make sure our students get the very best experience they could,” he said. “We’d like students to think that by getting a degree at Texas Tech you’ll have an experience second to none and that, when you graduate from the school, you’ll be set up for success as well as any student anywhere could be.”
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