| News Release|
Abandoned Funds Provide Pay Raise for
Higher Education Faculty
(Austin)--Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander
announced today that Texas college and university faculty members
will be eligible for pay raises starting
Sept. 1, thanks to the planned sale of about $40 million in
abandoned corporate stock from the state's unclaimed property
"Last year, I asked the Legislature to give me the authority to
find money to provide merit raises to higher education faculty. I
have found the money within my own agency," Comptroller Rylander
"Acting upon my e-Texas
commitment to use technology to make state government more
efficient and effective, I began a new investment system in which
unclaimed stocks are electronically deposited with the Depository
Trust Company (DTC), which handles the bulk of all stock
transactions in the United States.
"With the new investment system, we know how much our DTC
holdings are worth every single day," Comptroller Rylander said.
"We are able to sell stock when it is prudent to do so, and use
the money for the benefit of the state.
Under the state's unclaimed property law, banks and businesses
are required to turn over to the state any abandoned money or
other valuables whose owners cannot be found. Millions of dollars
in abandoned stock certificates have been forwarded to the
Comptroller's office where, until Comptroller Rylander's
administration, they gathered dust in a vault.
"There has never been a policy or a process for liquidating
unclaimed stock. Now there is," Comptroller Rylander said.
"My most important duty under the Unclaimed Property Law, and
one I take very seriously, is to reunite Texans with their lost,
forgotten or abandoned money and other valuables. Each year I
publish the names of hundreds of thousands of unclaimed property
owners in newspapers and on the Internet, but more than $700
million remains unclaimed.
"Until the owners turn up, the state is allowed to put
unclaimed funds to good use, and I can't think of a better use
than to give the distinguished and dedicated faculty of Texas
colleges and universities a well-deserved pay raise," Comptroller
"We must increase faculty salaries to help Texas higher
education institutions attract and retain high-quality
instructors," Comptroller Rylander said. "Top-caliber public
universities are vital for Texas to attract high-skill, high-wage
Texas' average higher education faculty salary was nearly 10
percent less than the average salary paid by the 10 largest
states. The average faculty pay at Texas' four-year public
colleges and universities was $53,360 in 1997-98, below the
national average of $54,920.
The pay raise that will take effect Sept. 1 will not be an
across-the-board increase. The Legislature directed that raises
be awarded to faculty members based on merit. Each eligible
campus will receive a 3 percent increase in funding for faculty
salaries to be divided among instructors as the university sees
fit. The pay raise covers faculty at the state's public
universities, technical colleges, services agencies and medical
institutions. Community college faculty and non-academic higher
education employees are not included. Non-academic employees
received the $100-a-month state employee pay raise in 1999.