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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Junior G Wade Taylor IV (4) covers his face after a missed point during Texas A&Ms game against Arkansas on Feb. 20, 2024 at Reed Arena. (Jaime Rowe/The Battalion)
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Ali Camarillo (2) waiting to see if he got the out during Texas A&Ms game against UIW on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024 at Olsen Field. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Dr. Weston Porter (top left) and researchers from the breast cancer lab. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Weston Porter)
New A&M research initiative provides cutting-edge cancer treatments
J.M. Wise, News Reporter • April 8, 2024

It has been 20 months since Michelle Pozzi, Ph.D, of Texas A&M’s Biochemistry and Biophysics department was diagnosed with cancer. However,...

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Light Middleweight boxers Francis Cristal and Frank Chiu throw crosses during Farmers Fight Night on Thursday, April 4th, 2024, at Reed Arena.
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“Throw the 1, follow with the 2!” “Keep your hands up!” “Tie him up!” It was the sixth fight of the night. The crowd was either...

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Students, residents commemorates Eid Al-Fitr
Lasan Ukwatta Liyanage, Life & Arts Writer • April 11, 2024

This year's Eid Al-Fitr celebration, hosted by Texas A&M’s Muslim Student Association, or MSA, drew over 1,500 attendees on Wednesday,...

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Student housing located right outside off campus boundaries on George Bush Drive. 
Guest Commentary: An open letter to City Hall
Ben Crockett, Guest Contributor • April 11, 2024

City Council, As representatives of the Texas Aggie Classes of 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027, we write to you today to urge a reconsideration...

Bowen: more money needed

Texas A&M is facing a bleak financial future of growing deficits and deteriorating academic programs unless a proposed “excellence” fee is implemented, A&M President Dr. Ray M. Bowen said Wednesday.
At a sparsely attended open forum to discuss the issue, Bowen made the case for charging students a $30-per-credit-hour tuition fee that would only apply to new students, which, for a student taking 15 hours a semester, would mean an average of $400 more per semester.
The fee must be approved by the A&M System Board of Regents. Bowen informed the regents Aug. 29 that A&M is facing a $6.2 million budget shortfall this year and will be forced to hike student fees or cut spending.
“We could cut spending and hold off on the Vision 2020 initiatives, but I really don’t want to do that, because we’ll make A&M less competitive,” Bowen said. “The value of your degree depends on our ability to keep our programs on the cutting edge.”
A combination of new expenditures and limited funding from the state have contributed to the budget crunch, Bowen said. Faculty members will get a three percent salary increase, and staff members will receive a four percent increase. Although the staff raise is state mandated, the state is shouldering only half the cost, Bowen said. Also, the rising price of energy has resulted in an $8 million increase in the utilities budget.
Texas A&M also fared poorly in the 2001 Texas legislative session in comparison with other state schools, Bowen said. A&M received a 6 percent general revenue increase from the state, while other schools in the A&M System got a 9.5 percent increase, and the University of Houston received an 11.7 percent boost.
Because A&M (along with the University of Texas at Austin) have access to the Permanent University Fund, both schools are often excluded from competing for some state funds, Bowen said.
“The budget process is structured to the disadvantage of A&M and the University of Texas,” Bowen said. “There are no advocates for this kind of university, nobody to stand up and say that there should be some universities in Texas that are among the best in the nation.”
Because it is likely the state will continue shifting the cost of higher education to students, another similar fee increase will be needed in four or five years, Bowen said.
Some of the students at the forum were skeptical that the University had examined other options before raising fees.
“It (excellence fee) may be necessary, but they should at least consider budget cuts,” said John Spurlin, a junior engineering technology major.
Bowen said A&M was already operating at a high level of efficiency, and any cuts would severely degrade the quality of programs and services.
“A&M’s per student spending is 40 percent below other public schools at our level, and the fact that we’re still competing at that level demonstrates that we’re pretty efficient,” Bowen said.
If implemented, the excellence fee is expected to generate $9 million for the 2002-2003 fiscal year, and after four years, when most students will be paying the fee, it will bring in $30 million annually. However, Bowen said, rising deficits produced by spending committments such as staff and faculty raises will continue to devour all the fee revenue.
Bowen will discuss the fee proposal at the Oct. 26 Board of Regents meeting, but no action will be taken. Bowen said he hopes regents will approve the fee before year’s end, so prospective students can take the added expense into account.

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