North Texas Daily

TAMS budget cut in half, adds arts to program

TAMS budget cut in half, adds arts to program

November 01
11:59 2017

State officials made budget cuts this summer to the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science (TAMS), an academy for 11th and 12th-grade students. Jennifer Evans-Cowley, provost and vice-president of Academic Affairs, announced the cuts at the faculty senate meeting in early October and said the STEM prominent academy will begin to focus on arts as well.

The decision for the cuts was decided in a state Senate meeting, where government officials cut the budget in half.

Funding for the TAMS program comes from a variety of sources with the main source of funding coming from the Texas Education Agency, along with the UNT budget and funding from families.

Dean of TAMS, Glênisson de Oliveira, said funding from those sources goes to operations, cost of running, infrastructure, vans, computer maintenance and salaries.

“The largest expenditure by far is scholarships,” de Oliveira said. “All TAMS students receive a significant amount of scholarships.”

Each student in the TAMS program receives a scholarship to cover all tuition, regular university fees and books.

Students receive $9,500 in scholarships a year or $19,000 for two years, and are eligible to apply for the Free Application for Student Aid to fulfill any other costs, TAMS recruiter Mary Collins said.

“We don’t want cost to stop students from attending TAMS,” Collins said.

The most important priority for the TAMS budget is the students and making sure everyone has an equal opportunity to attend the academy, de Oliveira said.

“With this cut, we have to eliminate expenditures,” de Oliveira said. “Our scholarships will be generous still, but will be in a fixed amount that may not necessarily cover tuition and fees.”

Even though the TAMS budget was cut, it wasn’t specifically targeted.

Beginning in September, the budget was reduced from around $2 million to $1 million, cutting it nearly 51 percent, de Oliveira said.

“What happened was in a broader effort, to decrease the cost of a category of expenses of line items,” de Oliveira said. “When you have these special line items, they try to reduce them. One of the budget streams from TAMS is the special line item.”

A line item refers to a budget and how the government will budget funds for the line item based on a good or service. TAMS is considered a special line item because it is the only program like this in the state of Texas.

Because TAMS is a program created by the Texas government, only students who reside in Texas can apply. De Oliveira said the academy receives calls from all around the world for students to apply.

In the faculty senate meeting where the cuts were announced, UNT President Neal Smatresk noted what he called fierce competition for high school students to come to UNT.

“Right now, our admission rate is over 30 percent, which makes it selective,” de Oliveira said. “If we increase the pool, we want to make sure there is room for more students.”

There will not be a full transition from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics), de Oliveira said, but he wants to fuse the two different foundations together by creating tracks that take advantage of strengths in the arts.

He also said the small addition should not be affected by the budget cuts.

“What we want is to take advantage of areas of UNT, fantastic music and visual professors to work with some of these students and help them develop several of their talents and have unique opportunities,” de Oliveira said. “We are going to create opportunities connected to arts but still remain STEM.”

As for the future of TAMS, de Oliveira said despite the budget cuts he is excited to see what the future holds.

“Hopefully we get the attention from legislature again,” de Oliveira said. “Considering opportunity and maybe increase funding again. Even with funding as it is I see the academy flourishing and is a fantastic place to thrive. Best education in the country for a high school aged student.”

Featured Image: McConnell Hall is where TAMS students reside. Over the summer TAMS funding was cut. Jacob Ostermann

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Julia Falcon

Julia Falcon

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2 Comments

  1. Jenson
    Jenson November 04, 16:25

    This article is grossly erroneous. The budget was not cut in half; one particular line item was cut in half, by somewhere around $1.4k per student per year. The cut was about 15% of the TAMS’s current annual budget. The bulk of TAMS’ state funding comes from the Foundation School Program, which was not cut.

    Furthermore, Texas pays another $13,000/year to subsidize in-state tuition at UNT, including for TAMS students.

    Reply to this comment
  2. G
    G July 03, 08:37

    Good Morning, is there an update to this article from the 86th legislative session? It looks like UNT requested funds from Hold Harmless Funding be reallocated to TAMS for scholarships. To date, the scholarship amount for TAMS has steadily decreased. Hopefully the reallocation, if it was approved, will bring the scholarship amount back up.

    Reply to this comment

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