Student body to vote on referendum Nov. 8-10

  Tuesday, September 7, 2021
  Around Campus, Athletics

By News and Internal Communications

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – UTRGV’s Student Government Association (SGA) on Tuesday voted to support a student referendum that will provide an opportunity for the student body to cast its vote on the expansion and creation of programs aided by an increase to the intercollegiate athletics fee. 

The university’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the Division of Strategic Enrollment and Student Affairs proposed the referendum last week during an SGA meeting.  

SGA will establish an elections committee to finalize details for the special election, to be held from Nov. 8-10. 

Chasse Conque, UTRGV vice president and director of athletics, said the referendum serves a much broader purpose than solely creating and expanding new programs.  

“The goal of this referendum is part of UTRGV’s bigger goal to enhance the university experience not only for our campus community, but also for the Valley communities we serve,” he said. “We are grateful to the SGA for providing this initial support, and for allowing our student body to be involved in such a transformative opportunity.”  

The referendum seeks to increase the intercollegiate athletics fee by $11.25 per credit hour (capped at 12 hours). Funds generated by the proposed fee increase will allow for the expansion and addition of the following programs on UTRGV campuses:  

  • The university’s spirit programs on both the Brownsville and Edinburg campuses.  
  • A Division I women’s swimming and diving program.   
  • A Division I FCS football program.    
  • Marching bands on both the Brownsville and Edinburg campuses. 

Current students who remain within the UTRGV established Guaranteed Tuition and Fees program will not have to pay the fee increase because of UTRGV’s promise to never raise a student's tuition or fees during that period. 

The proposed increase would start Fall 2022. The fee would affect only: 

Dr. Maggie Hinojosa, senior vice president for Strategic Enrollment and Student Affairs, said UTRGV is committed to working with the student body on this initiative and to keeping tuition and fees affordable for students. 

“We are No. 1 in the country for lowest student debt among all public institutions, and we pride ourselves on our programs that allow us to keep debt low,” she said. “This fee increase was carefully developed with two things in mind: providing the necessary funding to help create and expand the new programs, and ensuring that the increase will not affect our ability to remain one of the most affordable universities in Texas.” 

UTRGV leaders say the new programs, among other things, will create numerous new opportunities for students and the people of the Valley by: 

  • Expanding access to athletics throughout the Valley, as the football team plans to play in Brownsville and Edinburg with marching bands performing, and the swimming and diving team will compete in new natatorium being built in Pharr. Free transportation will be provided for students to home football games on the Brownsville and Edinburg campuses. Students will receive free admission to all home football games and swimming and diving competitions. 
  • Creating nearly 500 new opportunities for student involvement, with more spirit program members; marching band participants; football and swimming and diving student-athletes; additional student athletic trainers and student managers; and student employment opportunities. 
  • Enhancing school spirit and pride on our Brownsville and Edinburg campuses and throughout the Valley with performances by our marching band and expanded spirit program.  
  • Increasing UTRGV’s enrollment and providing more funding to the University, not only through tuition but also through formula funding which determines state allocations. 
  • Boosting the local economy and creating more job opportunities for UTRGV students, alumni and community members. 


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.