The University of Texas at Brownsville will receive $100 million in tuition revenue bonds from the Texas Legislature to establish a new campus.
That amount is approximately $50 million less than what the UT System Board of Regents had approved in January for building classrooms, a library and information technology center, space for music instruction, and other necessities for the university.
The legislation was approved in the Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday and was previously approved in the Texas Senate. It will go back to the Senate for final approval before arriving on Gov. Rick Perry’s desk for his signature.
UT-Pan American was allotted more than $78 million for a new science building on its Edinburg campus.
State Rep. Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville, said the money infusion will help UTB continue with its mission.
“Obviously, the separation of Texas Southmost College and UTB has left UTB with many assets but not enough to complete its mission or to grow into the next phase of higher education,” Oliveira said.
This is the first time since 2006 that the Legislature has approved tuition revenue bonds, Oliveira said, when $34 million went to UTB for construction of the biomedical research building.
“Higher education has taken a bit of a beating the last few sessions in terms of not getting any money,” Oliveira said.
But during this legislative session, he said, the public and Democrats recognized they needed to fund new projects in the state’s schools.
“We can’t brag about being the number one economy in the nation unless we make these investments,” Oliveira said.
“If we are going to be a mecca for people to come to work, then we have to provide education and create as many jobs as we can. We have been neglecting higher education and clearly the Valley was neglected so this is an incredible session for higher education in the Valley.”