Kevin Hegarty: Vice President and Chief Financial Officer University of Texas, Austin

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I SUSPECT THAT EVERY INSTITUTION, whether public or private, is addressing some sort of budget challenge. Seeking monies available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is one strategy that might be deployed by your campus. Your focus in figuring out how to put the federal stimulus monies to work for you should be on the federal grants award process and/or the allocation process employed by your state, Understand that in nearly every case, the federal government intended for the stimulus monies to be spent for capital spending and infrastructure, not for paying the operating cost of your institution. But remember, there are capital expenditures that you can make today that have an ongoing recurring benefit for your campus that can effectively reduce your recurring expenses.

A substantial amount of the stimulus monies have come through the federal grant award process. Research universities will have a natural advantage in winning these monies because they have existing processes for writing grants. If you are not a research institution, my advice would be to partner with a research institution and attempt to win a share via collaborative grants as a subcontractor to the principal grantee.

At UT Austin, we have been successful in winning several million dollars of grants to purchase specialized equipment for our research labs. …