Senator Hinojosa championed historic legislation with the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 24 which created the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), a top-tier university and medical school, and the second largest Hispanic–serving institution in the nation.
SB 24 authorized the merger of UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville and the creation of a freestanding medical school. The expansion of educational opportunities has created greater access to healthcare, spurred significant economic development, and boosted our quality of life in South Texas. UTRGV and the accompanying School of Medicine (SOM) have created thousands of jobs, improved higher educational levels, increased access to healthcare services, and brought much needed resources to our region. Perhaps most importantly for the new university, for the first time, UTRGV is eligible to receive millions of dollars from the Permanent University Fund, a major source of public higher education money that the Texas Constitution only allows “eligible” UT System schools to use.
UTRGV has an extensive presence in the Valley with campuses in Edinburg, Brownsville, Harlingen, McAllen, Starr County, and South Padre Island. Similarly, the UTRGV School of Medicine has campuses in Edinburg, Harlingen and Brownsville, and clinics throughout the Valley. These facilities have brought high-paying jobs, first-rate educational opportunities and access to health care to thousands of RGV residents. Further, UTRGV and the SOM have spurred economic development in the region with the continuing development of facilities, workforce training, and significant state investment.
The SOM already received $70 million in PUF monies for a new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) building which opened in 2018, and another $30 million for the Institute of Neuroscience building that will open soon.
As Vice Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Hinojosa was instrumental in securing funding for UTRGV and the School of Medicine for the 2020-2021 Biennium. This includes:
- $266.2 million for UTRGV General Academics ($9.8 million difference from 2018-19 Budget);
- $68.9 million for UTRGV School of Medicine ($12.3 million difference from 2018-19 Budget);
- $2.7 million Cervical Dysplasia Cancer Immunology Center; and
- A portion of the $157.2 million allocated for GME Expansion for graduate medical education to maintain a 1.1 to 1 ratio for residency slots ($60.2 million difference from 2018-19 Budget).