Perry signs bill making UNT Dallas independent

Thursday, May 28, 2009

DALLAS – The University of North Texas Dallas Campus became a stand-alone institution May 27 after Gov. Rick Perry signed Senate Bill (SB) 629, which allows three university system centers in the state to expand into full-fledged universities. The bill also allows the schools to issue tuition revenue bonds (TRBs) to pay for new facilities.

For the UNT Dallas Campus, which will open as the University of North Texas at Dallas and begin accepting freshmen and sophomores in 2010, the bill means the release of $25 million in TRBs to fund a second building on the school's 264-acre campus.

SB 629 fits into the state's "Closing the Gaps by 2015" Higher Education Plan, establishing educational sites in areas where the population is rapidly increasing. This strategy will increase the number of citizens in the North Texas region with bachelor's and master's degrees.

The bill also allows for the expansion of Texas A&M University-Central Texas in Killeen and Texas A&M University-San Antonio.  All three campuses, UNT Dallas included, recently met the 1,000 full-time-equivalent student enrollment benchmark set by the state legislature to qualify for stand-alone status. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board certified the UNT Dallas Campus' qualifying enrollment April 30.

John Ellis Price, vice chancellor of the UNT Dallas Campus and president-designate of the new university, said watching Gov. Perry sign the legislation at the capitol was an historic occasion.

"It was a great honor to be present as Gov. Perry signed Senate Bill 629 officially making us the University of North Texas at Dallas," Price said. "This is a great day for the City of Dallas. We are thrilled that we can now begin construction on our much-needed second building on campus, which will allow us to admit freshman and sophomores in the fall of 2010."

UNT Dallas becomes the first four-year public university in the City of Dallas.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108

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