FEATURED: With Luis “Louie” G. Alamia, PT (Physical Therapist), Member, Board of Trustees, Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District, looking on in the background, Dr. Guy Bailey, President, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, provides information to other area leaders and the news media in the school board meeting room about the planned construction of the Collegiate High School in Edinburg.
Photograph By PAUL CHOUY
State-of-the-art Collegiate High School in Edinburg set for public groundbreaking at 10 a.m. Tuesday morning, November 29, 2022, announces ECISD school board trustee Luis “Louie” G. Alamia
Area residents are invited to the groundbreaking of the 85,000 square-foot Collegiate High School in Edinburg – a partnership between the Edinburg school district and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley – beginning at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, November 29, 2022, according to ECISD school board trustee Luis “Louie” G. Alamia.
The event, which university leaders will lead to the construction of a one-of-a-kind educational facility in the Rio Grande Valley, will take place at 1407 E. Freddy González , which is the site where the landmark public education complex will be constructed.
The Collegiate High School will be built with funds provided by both the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and the Edinburg school district.
“On Wednesday, November 16, 2022, the UT System Board of Regents, meeting in Austin, approved $15.07 million as its financial contribution for the campus, which UTRGV officials have previously said will be unlike any other in the Rio Grande Valley,” said Alamia, PT (Physical Therapist). “The Edinburg school district has pledged to match UTRGV’s financial investment, which will make our Collegiate High School the latest crown jewel in education for both UTRGV and ECISD.”
The Collegiate High School shall offer a traditional high school curriculum, with special emphasis on Dual-Credit Educational Programs, as well as postsecondary higher-education programs, for undergraduate or higher courses of study provided by UTRGV. Academic programming includes pathways in the areas of education, engineering, computer science and health professions.
Under Dual Credit Educational Programs, high school students can enroll in postsecondary classes, while simultaneously completing high school coursework. This gives students the ability to get a jumpstart on their education or career goals as they earn credits toward a degree or professional credential while still in school.
Classes began in August 2022 for the Collegiate High School with more than 200 students taking courses in temporary portable buildings.
Partnership, plan first announced March 2022
On Wednesday, March 23, 2022, Alamia and his fellow school board trustees held a news conference, along with Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, and Dr. Guy Bailey, President, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, to announce the partnership between the Edinburg school district and UTRGV, and the plan for the Collegiate High School.
“”The leaders at the Edinburg school district know how important it is for students to succeed,” Bailey said. “The access to higher education this partnership with UTRGV will provide is paramount, starting with our youngest students and supporting them through the university. We want to be sure our Valley students are well prepared and have every opportunity to get the jobs they dream of.”
“This partnership is going to change lives and provide opportunities for students in a historic way that has not been possible before. By participating in this program Edinburg CISD students will not only be able to obtain college credit during high school, they will have access to the highest quality educational opportunities because of this extraordinary partnership and collaboration,” said Dr. Mario Salinas, Superintendent of Schools, Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District.
“This Collegiate High School will provide a rigorous and enriched educational experience to ECISD students in the areas of education, engineering, computer science and Health professions. We want our students to have every opportunity available to them so they can thrive at the University level and then in the workforce when they graduate,” Salinas added.
Alamia said UT System regents on Thursday, November 17, 2022, unanimously approved UTRGV’s $15.07 million contribution for the Collegiate High School.
Alamia: “High-quality students from all walks of life will guarantee its success.”
“There are so many leaders in the Valley and across the state who deserve credit for this amazing development, but it could never have happened if it wasn’t for the fact that the Edinburg school district and UTRGV have outstanding faculty, staff, and especially high-quality students from all walks of life who will guarantee its success,” he said.
Alamia emphasized that the Collegiate High School is part of the school districts elected and appointed leaders to provide a high-quality educational experience for all students.
“The Collegiate High School is just the most recent example of our stated vision, which is for our students to ‘master the competencies to be life-long learners, to compete, contribute, and succeed in the global community through positive attitudes and high expectations,’” he said. “No matter what a student wants to become when they attend and graduate from the Edinburg school district, we make every resource available to help them achieve their dreams for a wonderful life.”
With the 88th Texas Legislature schedule to begin work in mid-January 2022 during its five-month regular session, Alamia said he plans to work with his fellow board members to take very active roles on major legislation by Rio Grande Valley legislators that will improve public and higher education in Edinburg.
“UTRGV, South Texas College, Texas A&M College Higher Education Center in McAllen, and Texas State Technical College in Harlingen are among the higher education systems that affect and benefit public education, economic development and job growth in Edinburg,” he noted. “It is in the best interest of the Edinburg school board that we take active roles in the legislative agendas of these colleges and universities, and that we work closely with our state lawmakers, to make sure all of them succeed in and for the Edinburg school district.”
UT regents provide highlights of UTRGV’s roles
According to the agenda packet for the UT System Board of Regents from its November 17, 2022 public meeting, the following details regarding UTRGV’s participation for the development of the College High School include the following highlights:
• Approval of $15,075,000 of funding for UT Rio Grande Valley’s portion of a building to be constructed by the Edinburg Consolidated ISD; and resolution regarding parity debt;
• The Executive Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs recommended approval of this item authorizing funding of $15,075,000 from Revenue Financing System (RFS) bond proceeds for UT Rio Grande Valley to finance capital costs associated with a building to be constructed by the Edinburg Consolidated ISD on land owned by the institution and to be leased by the ISD as approved by the Board of Regents on August 25, 2022;
•• The debt is expected to be repaid with institutional funds;
•• Annual debt service is estimated at $839,000.
Debt service refers to the money that is required to cover the payment of interest and principal on a loan or other debt for a particular time period.
•• The institution’s Scorecard Rating of 2.3 at fiscal year-end 2021 is below the maximum threshold of 6.0 and demonstrates that the institution has the financial capacity to satisfy its direct obligations related to parity debt.
•• The institution therefore requests that the Board resolve in accordance with Section 5 of the Amended and Restated Master Resolution Establishing The University of Texas System RFS the findings that are stated below:
•• Parity debt shall be issued to fund all or a portion of the project, including any costs prior to the issuance of such parity debt.
Parity debt is a debt which has been taken by keeping security, or collateral that is equal to the value of the debt provided.
•• Sufficient funds will be available to meet the financial obligations of the U. T. System, including sufficient Pledged Revenues as defined in the RFS Master Resolution to satisfy the Annual Debt Service Requirements of the Financing System, and to meet all financial obligations of the U. T. System Board of Regents relating to the Financing System.
•• UT Rio Grande Valley, which is a “Member” as such term is used in the RFS Master Resolution, possesses the financial capacity to satisfy its direct obligation as defined in the Master Resolution relating to the issuance by the UT System Board of Regents of parity debt in an aggregate amount of $15,075,000.
•• This resolution satisfies the official intent requirements set forth in Section 1.150-2 of the Code of Federal Regulations that evidences the Board’s intention to reimburse project expenditures with bond proceeds.
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS RIO GRANDE VALLEY RANKS IN TOP 10 NATIONALLY FOR AWARDING DEGREES TO HISPANIC STUDENTS
Hispanic Outlook on Higher Education Magazine has ranked the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley second in the country for awarding bachelor’s degrees to Hispanic/Latino students, in its annual “Hispanic Outlook Top 100 Colleges and Universities for Hispanics” edition.
The magazine also noted that while UTRGV ranked second, it still had the largest percentage of bachelor’s degrees specifically awarded to Hispanic/Latino students, with 93 percent.
UTRGV placed fourth for total master’s degrees awarded to Hispanic/Latino students, and fifth for total enrollment of Hispanic/Latino students.
The magazine annually compiles data on higher education national institutions that serve Hispanic/Latino students, prepping them in diverse fields of study and awarding degrees across different levels.
The buzzworthy rankings were released after UTRGV marked record enrollment for Fall 2022, with more than 32,000 students. Among the enrolled students, more than 5,800 were incoming freshmen, the most in school history.
The meaning of buzzworthy is information new and interesting that is likely to arouse the attention and discussion of the public, either by media coverage or word of mouth.
UTRGV President Guy Bailey said the national Hispanic Outlook rankings showcase the growth and continuous success of the university.
“Since we opened our doors to students in 2015, we have stayed true to our commitment to provide a quality, affordable education for students from the Rio Grande Valley community and well beyond,” Bailey said. “We continue to focus on creating diverse pathways to success for our students – including financial and academic opportunities – and honor the cultural diversity that makes us unique.”
UTRGV also ranked significantly high in the lists awarding degrees in several other categories, including: First in English Language and Literature/Letters degrees. First in Parks Recreation/Leisure/Fitness and Kinesiology degrees. Second in Homeland Security/Law Enforcement/Firefighting and Related Protective Services degrees. Fifth in Education degrees. Seventh in Visual and Performing Arts degrees. Eighth in Engineering degrees.
Data for the rankings is from The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Systems (IPEDS), from the 2020-2021 academic year.
The data also showcased the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on higher education overall.
The institutions on the list were recognized for their efforts to serve the population and for redefining their modes of educational delivery.
For more information about the Top 100 Colleges and Universities, visit
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas.
This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.
UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island.
UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.
Lisa Ayala Hettler and Amanda Alaniz contributed to this article. For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories that affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com).