Tier 1 matching funds for Texas universities go up for grabs

Today is the first day that seven of the state's public universities – including UT-Arlington, UT-Dallas and the University of North Texas – can compete for $25 million in matching state funds designed to help them become major research (aka "Tier One") campuses.

First out the gate: UT-Dallas, which says it has received $16.8 million in private donations, and is therefore eligible for $14.9 million of the state research funds. It's first-come, first-served, so assuming any other campuses make big announcements today, that $25 million will go super-fast.

A little background: House Bill 51, which the Legislature passed this year, provides $50 million to the seven campuses (the three above plus Texas Tech, U of Houston, UT-El Paso and UT-San Antonio) over two years. Schools that receive donations between $100,000 and $10 million can receive anywhere from a 50 to 100 percent match from the state. If When demand exceeds supply, the state will prorate the money, and schools who don't get the full match this year will be first in line for the second pot of $25 million next year.

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