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Thursday, May 15, 2008

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Report Shows UT System Gains in Diversity, Research, Graduation Rates

TYLER – Over the last five years, institutions within The University of Texas System have become more diverse in their student bodies, increased their research capacity by more than one-third and raised graduation rates at most academic institutions, according to an annual UT System report that gauges quality, impact, productivity and student outcomes.

Those gains and others were among 72 indicators measured in the 2007-08 Accountability and Performance Report approved by the UT System Board of Regents today (May 15) at a board meeting in Tyler. The report, which has been compiled for five consecutive years, contains an array of metrics, accountability indicators and analyses that plot the progress of all 15 institutions and system as a whole against priorities outlined in the UT System’s 10-year strategic plan.

Dr. Geri H. Malandra, the UT System’s vice chancellor for strategic management, noted among highlights in the report, trends relating to systemwide student diversity. In 2007, the proportion of white (38.4 percent) and Hispanic (38.1 percent) students enrolled at UT System institutions was nearly equal. And in 2006, 41.3 percent of first-time students at UT System academic institutions were Hispanic, which exceeded the proportion of Hispanics that year (35.5 percent) who graduated from all Texas high schools.

Also, as competition for research funding increased on a national scale from 2003 to 2007, research expenditures at the UT System rose by 34.1 percent, from $1.5 billion to more than $1.9 billion. In yet another measurement, five UT System institutions posted increases in four-year graduation rates while four posted increases in six-year graduation rates.

“This accountability report not only shows the UT System’s commitment to transparency, but it demonstrates meaningful progress in the areas of productivity and student outcomes at our institutions,” said Dr. Kenneth I. Shine, UT System chancellor ad interim. “This is illustrative of the significant value that students get from a UT System education and shows that we are good stewards with the tax dollars to which we are entrusted.”

Among the report’s other highlights:

  • In 2007, UT System institutions made 261,937 financial aid awards totaling $912 million, significantly greater than the 213,798 awards totaling $628.7 million in 2003. Most of the increase came from institutions, which provided 36 percent of grants and scholarships in 2007, compared with 27 percent in 2003.
  • In 2006, UT System health faculty logged 5.2 million outpatient visits and 1.4 million hospital days. Health care provided to the uninsured and underinsured totaled $1.4 billion, an increase of 49 percent from 2002.
  • From 2002 to 2006, the number of new invention disclosures by UT System institutions increased by 36.2 percent, to 655, and patents issued increased by 13.6 percent to 117, 72 of which were from health institutions. Gross revenue from intellectual property also increased – by 33.9 percent – to $35.6 million.

The UT System Accountability Report is regarded as one of the top models for higher education accountability in the nation. The System was the first higher education entity in the state to devise a comprehensive model for public accountability.

“We value this report as the gold standard of accountability in higher education and believe these measures to be the basis for key strategies for improving our system in virtually every performance category in higher education,” said Robert B. Rowling, vice chairman of the UT System Board of Regents.

The UT System is one of the nation’s largest higher education systems, with nine academic campuses and six health institutions. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $10.7 billion (FY 2008) including $2.3 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Student enrollment exceeded 194,000 in the 2007 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's health care professionals annually. With more than 81,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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