Comprehensive University Endowment Trust Fund
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In 1997, the Kentucky General Assembly passed House Bill 1, a plan designed to reform the state’s system of higher education. The goal was to develop a “seamless, integrated system of postsecondary education strategically planned and adequately funded to enhance economic development and quality of life.”
A key element of this initiative is the Endowment Match Program which encourages private investment in public higher education research activities to stimulate business development, generate increases in externally sponsored research, create better jobs and a higher standard of living and facilitate Kentucky’s transition to a knowledge-based economy. The program matches state funds dollar-for-dollar with private gifts to grow endowments to fund endowed chairs, professorships, research scholars, research staff, graduate fellowships, undergraduate scholarships, research infrastructure and mission support at these institutions. This collaborative approach is critical to advancing Kentucky’s research presence into national prominence.
State funds for the program are appropriated to the Research Challenge Trust Fund (RCTF) for the research institutions and to the Regional University Excellence Trust Fund (RUETF) for the comprehensive institutions. The Endowment Match Program received surplus General Fund appropriations of $110 million in 1998-99 and $120 million in 2000-01. The legislature debt funded another $120 million for the program in 2003-04. Murray State’s share of this funding totaled $8,490,787 and since it has succeeded in completely matching all eligible funds, its total endowments equal $16,981,574.
Another round of Bucks for Brains funding of $60 million was made available to Kentucky’s public colleges and universities during the 2008-10 biennium in recognition to the success and popularity of the program. $50 million was allocated to the research universities and $10 million went to the comprehensive universities under the renamed program of Comprehensive University Endowment Trust Fund (CUETF). Murray State’s share of the new round of state funding was $1,580,000. This brings Murray State’s share of state matching funds for the endowment trust fund program to $10,087,787. Total private funds actually received as of June 30, 2011 equaled $9,983,056 with $87,731 in pledges outstanding. Once all pledged matching funds are received, the total endowment will equal $20,175,574.
With these state and private funds, Murray State has been able to establish two endowed chairs and five endowed professorships. As of June 30, 2012 both chairs and all professorships were occupied. In addition, 29 endowed scholarships and five mission support endowments have been established. The results are enhanced teacher training quality as well as improved instruction and research in financial planning and creative writing. The endowed scholarships have helped provide greater access to higher education.