While leftist students are pushing colleges to divest from fossil fuels, college students in Texas enjoy low tuition and increased stability.

Imagine that.

James Osborne of the Dallas News reported.

Oil boom sends gusher of cash to Texas universities

Before hydraulic fracturing. Before the super majors. Before the first oil boom. Before Texas was even a state, sparsely populated land on its western frontier was set aside to fund public education.

As the oil shale boom sweeps West Texas more than 170 years later, the University of Texas and Texas A&M are reaping a windfall from what was once cattle grazing land.

Over the past five years, the two university systems have seen their endowments grow by around 70 percent as oil revenue floods in at the rate of almost $1 billion a year. At a time most state universities are fighting just to maintain programs, UT and A&M are spending hundreds of millions a year on new construction projects while maintaining tuition costs routinely cited as among the most affordable in the nation.

“It’s a huge game changer and is something that no other university system has to this extent,” said James Huffines, a Dallas bank executive and University of Texas booster, who sat on the UT Board of Regents until 2010. “Just look around the campuses at all the new construction. A lot of it is supported by oil money, and those royalty payments should keep growing.”

The scale of the oil revenue has not gone unnoticed in Austin. As in most state capitals, funding for higher education has become a contentious issue.

The matter came to a head last month as the Board of Regents backed off a tuition hike following the objections of Gov. Rick Perry. In a letter to the board, Perry pointed to the “exponential growth in the value of the Permanent University Fund — that will allow you to meet institutional needs without placing additional financial burdens on students and parents.”