Permanent University Fund shortchanges UH

Image credit: Pixabay

Tom Kirkendall calls attention to a Houston Chronicle story on efforts by the University of Houston to boost its academic image.

Reporter Matthew Tresaugue focuses on a campus visit to UH by a suburban student, who ranked UH behind the University of Texas and Texas A&M before and after the visit.

The reporting really doesn’t cover new ground, and as Kirkendall points out, it completely misses an important issue:

However, the Chronicle inexplicably continues to ignore the far more important story. Given the relative contributions of UT, A&M and UH to the welfare and economy of the State of Texas, does it really make sense for the University of Houston to have an endowment that is only 4% the size of the University of Texas endowment and only 10% the size of Texas A&M’s? As discussed in this prior post, that is one of the absurd legacies of the obsolescent Permanent University Fund on higher education in Texas, and it is not even mentioned in the Chronicle’s story on UH.

Frankly, rather than dismissing UH as an unattractive choice compared to UT and A&M, a more accurate analysis is that UH is providing far more “bang for the buck” in furnishing a quality educational resource for Houston and Texas at a fraction of the endowed capital of UT and A&M. That the system of funding Texas public universities unfairly deprives UH the capital that would facilitate a jump to Tier I status is the real story that the Chronicle should be pursuing.

As usual, Kirkendall has nailed it.

Unfortunately, the story is yet another instance where the sort of insight and analysis of local affairs that Kirkendall or I might prefer from the Chronicle is instead replaced with that breezy Features-style reporting that almost seems to take pride in the fact that it doesn’t dig all that deep.

Maybe there were pretty pictures accompanying the story in print editions.

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Kevin Whited
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