Texas Universities Hurt By Stock Market Plunge

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    The ongoing recession and global economic shock pummeled stocks this year, with the Dow Jones industrial average slumping 36.2 percent. That's the biggest drop since 1931 when the Great Depression sent stocks reeling 40.6 percent.

    Texas universities are calculating how many millions of dollars their endowments have lost in the recent stock market plunge.

    They're also making plans for how to deal with the drop.

    Officials at the private Texas Christian and Southern Methodist universities say they're already planning spending cuts. But public universities say they're waiting to see how much money they get from the Legislature before deciding on cuts.

    TCU's faced with a $100 million loss from its endowment, so officials there are asking departments to trim 8 to 10 percent of their budgets for next school year and are imposing a hiring freeze.

    SMU's just starting work on its 2009-10 budget, but officials there say departments would be asked to hold spending at this year's level and to prepare for undetermined campuswide spending cuts.

    The University of North Texas took the hardest endowment hit with a drop in value of more than 25 percent. UNT officials have a preliminary plan that, if approved, would create a sliding scale for reducing payouts from the endowment to protect its core worth.