UT Proposes New University in South Texas

Published 12/06 2012 02:08PM

Updated 12/06 2012 02:13PM

University of Texas System officials announced a plan today to merge two South Texas universities into a new institution that would be eligible for funding from the state's main higher education endowment. The new university, yet to be named, would include a planned medical school in the region.

The proposal, which needs legislative approval, would combine UT-Pan American in Edinburg and UT-Brownsville in the city of that name. Although both campuses would continue to be used for classes and research, the new university would be overseen by a single president. It would immediately become one of the largest Hispanic-serving institutions in the nation.

A key element of the plan is to designate the new school as eligible for funding from the Permanent University Fund, a multibillion-dollar endowment benefiting certain institutions in the UT System and the Texas A&M University System. UT-Pan Am and UT-Brownsville are currently not eligible for such funding.

The new university would encompass an existing regional academic health center in Harlingen, which officials want to expand into a medical school. Chancellor Francisco proposed that the system allocate $100 million over the next 10 years to advance that effort.

Administrative headquarters for the new university and its medical school would be in McAllen, Cigarroa said.

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