Texas A&M University has been funneling millions of dollars from its outsource contract with Compass Group into its academic programs but has also set more than $5 million to use at the university president's discretion, reports the Eagle campus paper as part of a series exploring the school's finances. Last year, Texas A&M had signed a five-year contract, plus an option for another five years, to operate dining, building maintenance, custodial and landscaping services at the system's main campus in College Station. Earlier this year, Texas A&M added a system-wide outsourcing deal with Compass subsidiary SSC Service Solutions to manage landscaping, building maintenance and custodial services at its 16 system campuses.

The dining services portion of the contract is set up with guaranteed payments from Compass subsidiary Chartwells through which the university received an up-front, $46.5 million signing bonus last year when the contract was initiated. According to financial records obtained by The Eagle through an open records request, Texas A&M received $6.5 million in the 2012-2013 fiscal year, the first year of the contract, of which $5 million was invested into education and the rest has been set aside, according to VP-Finance/CFO B.J. Crain.

In a followup report the next day, the Eagle explored the impact of the dining changes resulting from the deal with Chartwells on students and the campus culture.