Midwestern State may join Texas Tech system

"A good way of saying it, we're playing defense and not offense this time," Dr. Tedd Mitchell said.

The wish list for the Texas Tech University System, is notably smaller for state legislators this year.

With the state's billion dollar budget deficit, the session may involve more penny-pinching than usual.

Chancellor Mitchell says his priorities are focused on maintaining existing programs across the four universities.

"In my opinion, if you go down with a laundry list of additional items, exceptional items, you're being tone-deaf to all the other agencies," he said.

2019 was a big year for Texas Tech.

"Exceptional items" of the veterinarian school in Amarillo and the dental school in El Paso got the stamp of approval.

But this year, big asks will be sacrificed including Tuition Revenue Bonds (TRB) used specifically for buildings.

"In a normal year, if the economy had still been doing well, 2021 probably would have been a time when would have expected TRB money. But this is not a session where we expect to see that," Mitchell explained.

A result of that, buildings in need of refurbishment like the main building at the Health Sciences Center established 50 years ago, will be deferred for now.

The system also is looking to expand.

Chancellor Mitchell is confident the legislature will also approve the partnership with Midwestern State University (MSU).

He says staff has been laying the ground work in the Wichita Falls community for the last year and half.

"So we've been working really hard to earn their trust," he said. "It is a synergy, that they'll get, becoming a part of our system. And not something that is onerous or overbearing," Dr. Mitchell added.

One example, earlier this year, the system worked with its federal relations team to ensure the liberal arts college got the CARES Act funding it needed.

The chancellor says it should be an attractive proposal for lawmakers since it will save the state money in the long run.

22% of the TTU System's budget currently comes from the state, about $491 million.