Gov. Rick Perry today highlighted the importance of ensuring Texans have access to a quality, affordable higher education in order to strengthen our state's future workforce. The governor spoke at the Founder's Day celebration for the University of North Texas at Dallas (UNT Dallas).
"Today we celebrate the next chapter in the lives of countless Texans who will get a head start on their careers thanks to the degrees they will earn at the University of North Texas at Dallas," Gov. Perry said. "Institutions like UNT Dallas are essential to ensuring higher education is accessible to all Texans, strengthening our economy, and make our state more competitive for jobs and investment."
Located 10 minutes south of downtown Dallas, UNT Dallas began as a branch campus of the University of North Texas in 2000, and transitioned to an independent institution in August 2010. The university is Dallas' first and only publicly supported university. The first freshman class of 133 students began classes in the Fall of 2010, and will graduate in 2014.
"This university would not have been possible without the vision and commitment of the people who were here today," UNT Dallas President John Price said. "This new university is here to provide greater access to quality education for the people of Dallas and North Texas, and to help change family trees for generations to come. With the continued support of everyone here today and the citizens of Dallas, I believe we can accomplish that."
Ensuring Texas remains a leader in job creation depends on the development of our workforce, and is imperative to Texas' future prosperity. Gov. Perry is committed to ensuring that all Texans who pursue a higher education have access to an affordable and accountable system.
Because a college education is so important, the governor worked with lawmakers last session to secure $22.6 billion for higher education for the current biennium, including $1.1 billion in state financial aid. To help further keep the cost of attending college low, Gov. Perry signed an executive order in September 2009 calling for a comprehensive review of higher education cost efficiencies.
To improve the quality of higher education in the state, Gov. Perry signed House Bill 51 and voters passed Proposition 4, which will create more tier one universities in the state, giving Texas students the opportunity to study in the most premier research facilities available. HB 51 also provides a performance incentive funding mechanism for all of the state's general academic institutions based on the average number of degrees awarded annually and an increase in the average number of degrees awarded annually, with weighted consideration for at-risk students and critical fields.
For more information about the University of North Texas at Dallas, please visit www.unt.edu/unt-dallas/.