For UNT, the chance for millions in new funding is on the ballot this fall — here’s what voters should know

Voters will decide Nov. 7 if the University of North Texas will have access to a fund supporters say would be transformational.

Proposition 5, which will be on all Texas voters’ ballots, would amend the Texas Constitution to rename the national research university fund as the Texas University Fund. If voters approve the ballot measure, four of the state’s public university systems will have access to a $3.9 billion permanent endowment — UNT, Texas State University, Texas Tech University and the University of Houston.

The four universities serve more than 160,000 students from working- and middle-class families from across the state, and all are Carnegie Tier One research institutions.

So, how transformational would the funding be? Should voters pass the measure, UNT will have access to $22.3 million in funding, with the possibility of access to more than $40 million if the university reaches select research criteria.

Kim Garza Turner, the coordinator of the Texas University Fund Political Action Committee and a UNT alumna, said the Texas University Fund would be a game-changer for a number of public Texas universities that are trying to develop their competitive research initiatives.

That might sound like ceremony to those outside of academia, but Turner said if voters pass the constitutional amendment, it will have material benefits to Texans.

“The fund allows more Texas universities to receive national rankings in research, which directly impacts graduates and jobs,” she said. “The fund would make a lot of difference when it comes to meeting the demands of industry.

“As you know, Denton County is, what, the fourth fastest-growing county in the country? Can this help the universities meet the needs of the Texas economy? Yes.”

UNT President Neal J. Smatresk agreed.

“The TUF will be transformative for UNT and will help elevate us to greater national prominence while helping drive the Texas economy,” he said.

Read the full story from Denton Record-Chronicle here.