Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Texas Education: Do Funds Equal Productivity?

In a recent post, I compared the number of programs in Texas and California public institutions of higher education that were ranked nationally in terms of faculty productivity by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

According to the Chronicle, the University of Texas at Austin has 28 ranked programs, and Texas A&M University has 14 ranked programs. For those of you scoring at home, that is a ratio of exactly 2:1.

Upon seeing those figures, my colleague wondered aloud whether that ratio was a result of the state's Permanent University Fund, which funnels royalties from oil deposits to the state's two largest university systems (apparently that was a change in 1984; before that, money went only to the two flagship schools).

However, the money is not divided equally. UT gets 2/3 of the money. That means that UT gets $2 for every $1 that A&M gets (Texas Tech gets none despite much of the oil reserves being in West Texas).

Again, the ratio is 2:1, exactly the same as the number of ranked programs.

As my colleague did, one cannot help but speculate (but it is just that -- speculation) whether these two ratios are causally linked.

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