Texas universities are offering to suspend education for two years in exchange for nearly $1 billion in additional government funding.

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As Texas lawmakers ponder what to do with the state’s unprecedented $32.7 billion surplus, leaders of the state’s six largest public university systems are proposing nearly $1 billion for higher education.

If the legislators agree, these university presidents are committed to maintaining flat tuition fees for all undergraduate students for the next two academic years.

In a letter sent to Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Speaker of the House Dade Phelan, Senate Finance Committee Chair Joan Huffman, and House Finance Committee Chair Greg Bonnen in mid-December, university presidents asked for more funding from general income, as well as increased funding for employee health insurance. universities and free college programs for military veterans and their children.

“Our educational mission is funded almost entirely by two sources of funding: government support and student tuition,” the letter, which The Texas Tribune received on Tuesday, said. “Without an increase in government support, Texas schools must look for additional efficiency and then tuition and fees to be able to continue to maintain high quality education. To save tuition fees for our students and their families, Texas universities are committed to increasing public investment.”

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