Transforming the Rio Grande Valley through Higher Education

Senator Hinojosa championed historic legislation with the passage of Senate Bill 24 which created the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), projected to be a top-tier university and medical school andhome to the second largest Hispanic Serving Institution in the United States.

Senate Bill 24 authorized the merger of UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsvilleand the creation of a free standing medical school.The expansion of educational opportunities will create greater access to healthcare, spur significant economic development, and will be a great boost to our quality of life in South Texas. There will be more jobs, lower poverty levels, higher educational levels, more healthcare services, more access to doctors and more resources to serve the unique and critical needs of our families.

Perhaps most importantly for the new university, for the first time, UTRGV will be eligible to receive millions of dollars from the Permanent University Fund (PUF), a major source of public higher education money that the Texas Constitution only allows “eligible” UT System schools to use. The new university and medical school will:

  • Span the entire Rio Grande Valley Region, with campuses at Pan American and Brownsville, and will also have a strong presence in Harlingen and McAllen.
  • Create about 7,000 new high-paying jobs.
  • Significantly increase medical residency slots and place medical residents in hospitals across the Valley to increase access to care and decrease our physician shortage.
  • Immediately enhance the status of the university in terms of research, philanthropy and the ability to attract new faculty and research funding.
  • Tremendously boost our economy and spur significant economic development in our region.
  • $70 million in PUF monies have already been received for a new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) building to be built — and this is just the beginning.