CANYON, TX (KFDA) - The Texas legislature has sent a bill to the governor's desk that would reduce the operating funds for some A&M institutions and West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) is one of those 11 schools.
For the 2017 academic year, WTAMU could see up to a $4 million decrease in state support. This shortfall would decrease funding for the university's historical museum, the small business development center and some research courses
"Research at the feedlots and the dry land irrigation are among those that will be hurting," said Randy Rikel, WTAMU Business and Finance VP. "These programs will have find ways to come out of that loss there, and we have some smart people who can do that."
Rikel says the decrease could have been much worse, but the universities steadily increasing enrollment has helped keep the school secure.
"We're going to keep our critical mission in full steam ahead which is education," said Rikel. "So, our main departments will not be hurt. It will be more in the research area that will be stagnate until we get out of this hump, but education, we are full steam ahead there."
Not only is the school seeing an increase in Panhandle enrollment but also from out of state. About 19 percent of the school students are from out of state due to the low tuition costs.
"At West Texas A&M University, the enrollment has gone up every year for the last ten years," said Dan Garcia, WTAMU Enrollment Management VP. "We've increased over 2,500 students overall and just this year, our enrollment went up about 5 percent."
This last Fall, WTAMU was shy 10,000 students and expects to surpass that this upcoming fall.