Austin, Texas
March 6, 2013

Honorable Kel Seliger, Chair, Senate Committee On Higher Education
Ursula Parks, Director, Legislative Budget Board
SB120 by Rodríguez (Relating to the creation of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso as a component institution of the Texas Tech University System.), As Introduced

Senate Bill 120 would create the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso as a component institution of the Texas Tech University System.


General Institutional Information


Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) currently has campuses in Abilene, Amarillo, Dallas, El Paso, Lubbock and Permian Basin.  Its El Paso campus has been in operation since 1973. TTUHSC El Paso campus has approximately 1,400 faculty and staff members.


In May 2012, the Texas Tech University System Board of Regents approved to begin the process of establishing a freestanding health-related institution in El Paso. The new institution Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at El Paso would be the tenth health-related institution in Texas and the fourth higher education institution in the Texas Tech University System along with Texas Tech University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and Angelo State University.


Current Educational Activities


The TTUHSC El Paso campus currently offers degree programs in its Paul Foster School of Medicine, the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing, and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Data reported by TTUHSC for 2012 (spring, summer and fall), show 5,029 full-time student equivalents (FTSE) at all TTHUSC campuses with 434 FTSEs (9 percent) enrolled at the El Paso campus.


In 2003, the Texas Legislature authorized the establishment of a four-year medical school in El Paso. The Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (Foster SOM) was founded in 2008 and was accredited by the Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME) in 2009. The first medical school class began in 2009 and the first graduates will receive degrees in spring 2013. The Foster SOM sponsors or is affiliated with medical residency programs in emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, radiology-diagnostic, and surgery. The school is currently seeking initial accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for the following residency programs: anesthesiology, sports medicine, cardiovascular disease, gastroenterology, nephrology, and child and adolescent psychiatry. In fiscal year 2012, TTUHSC reported to the Coordinating Board a total 601 residents, of which 221 (37 percent) were in a residency program in El Paso.


In October 2010, the Hunt Family Foundation donated a $10 million gift to the Texas Tech System. The donation was used to fund the fully-accredited and autonomous Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing (GGHSON) in El Paso. The school admitted its inaugural class of traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students in fall 2011 and second degree BSN students in spring 2012. The Nursing school reported 142 FTSE for 2012 (spring, summer and fall).


In addition to the programs offered through the Foster SOM and the GGHSON, the El Paso campus also offers the Master of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences. This program did not report a separate enrollment for the El Paso campus for 2012.


Future Educational Activities


Based upon the TTUHSC’s Legislative Appropriations Request (LAR), the Foster SOM and the

GGHSON are projected to have enrollment growth over the next five years, with each school enrolling 400 students.


Recognition by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to Offer Degrees


If the TTUHSC at El Paso is established, then the new institution and TTUHSC will need to update their respective degree program inventories and seek degree granting authority from the Coordinating Board for any degrees for which they do not have authority.


Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges Accreditation Process


Statutory authority would be only one step in TTUHSC at El Paso’s process to begin awarding degrees. TTUHSC at El Paso would need to apply for accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the regional accrediting body for Texas institutions. The process of obtaining full accreditation can take up to seven years. During that period, TTUHSC at El Paso would provide evidence of appropriate resources for candidate status. The institution would then submit a self-study and have a site visit which would determine if full accreditation would be granted.


Institutions are evaluated on a variety of fundamental components defined in the Commission on College’s Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement for SACSCOC accreditation. In order to fully meet the accreditation standards TTUHSC at El Paso needs to have experienced administrative and teaching faculty, significant library resources appropriate to the level of instruction to be taught, and an infrastructure that includes admissions, financial aid, and other student services. TTUHSC at El Paso would remain under the SACSCOC accreditation of TTUHSC until independent accreditation was received.


TTUHSC at El Paso would incur costs related to the accreditation process. Based upon information on the SACSCOC website, a fee of $10,000 would accompany the application for accreditation. It is assumed that the application would be sent to SACSCOC in 2014. Once an institution is authorized to receive a Candidacy Committee, an additional fee of $2,500 is required. This fee covers the costs related to staff involvement in the accreditation process and assembling the Candidacy Committee. There are likely other costs that will be incurred by the institution during the initial accreditation phase, including additional staff and faculty costs.


Fiscal Analysis


TTUHSC plans to replicate the infrastructure that currently exists at its institution for TTUHSC at El Paso. No additional funds were requested in the institution’s LAR for the current biennium to establish TTUHSC at El Paso as a stand-alone institution. The El Paso campus currently has offices in place to address finances, information and technology (IT), human resources, development, marketing, and various other functions. The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Fact Book reports 1,624 budgeted FTEs for the El Paso campus consisting of 144 Institutional FTEs, 5 Rural Health FTEs, 1,452 Foster SOM FTEs and 23 GGHSON FTEs. Based upon this information, several services and functions necessary for a freestanding institution are currently in place at the El Paso campus with costs being absorbed by TTUHSC.


Probable new costs that would be incurred to establish TTUHSC at El Paso include those in the areas of administration, accreditation, and technology. TTUHSC estimates the five-year new costs would be $20.5 million. The institution is not currently seeking state funding for these expenses and is currently absorbing the costs in expanding offices and functions at the El Paso campus.  The establishment and maintenance to build appropriate academic resources to meet SACSCOC standards and accommodate students enrolled in new degree programs could require State support in future years.



  FY2014 FY2015 FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 Total       Five-Year Costs
Administrative Costs    1,922,592   2,584,092  2,695,207  3,200,187  3,386,190   13,788,266
SACs or Other Accreditation Costs      202,000     202,000     184,000     180,000     202,000       970,000
Buildings (New & Maintenance)              -               -       250,000     250,000     250,000       750,000
IT Start-up    1,380,150     960,150     870,150     872,150     912,150    4,994,750
Total    3,504,742   3,746,242  3,999,357  4,502,337  4,750,340   20,503,016


Formula Funding


If the legislation is passed, it would authorize the creation of Texas Tech University Health Science Center at El Paso, making the new institution eligible for formula funding in the 2016-2017 biennium. (The 2014-2015 biennium formula funding would be included in the allocation for Texas Tech Health Sciences Center.) The formula funding for the new institution in 2016-2017 would include: Instruction and Operations, Infrastructure, Research Enhancement and Graduate Medical Education. The allocations for these elements (with the exception of Research Enhancement) would be redistributed from TTUHSC to TTUHSC at El Paso. The Research Enhancement formula, which is generated by state appropriations to support research from each institution, would require new funds. The Research Enhancement formula currently provides a base amount of $1,412,500 for all health-related institutions regardless of their research volume. Each institution receives an additional 1.10 percent of its research expenditures.




Facilities at the TTUHSC Campus in El Paso


Based upon the facilities inventory for fall 2011, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso campus has 29 buildings. Fourteen buildings are owned by TTUHSC, 8 buildings are leased and 7 buildings are made available to the institution at either no cost or at a nominal rate.


The LAR submitted by TTUHSC requested exceptional items for Tuition Revenue Bonds (TRBs) for two facilities in El Paso. The first request is for the construction of another Medical Science Building to support the expanding research programs in El Paso. The total project cost is estimated at $99 million and the TRB request is for $89.1 million with external funds covering the remaining $9.9 million. In the TRB submitted to the Coordinating Board, TTUHSC noted that if the funds were not provided through the TRB, then the project would be postponed. The second request is for the construction of a Clinical Science Building. The total project cost is estimated at $30 million with $27 million from the TRB and $3 million from other funds. There was not an explanation provided to the Coordinating Board explaining how the institution would fund the project if TRB funds were not provided. The total costs for both projects are estimated at $129 million.


Source Agencies:
781 Higher Education Coordinating Board
LBB Staff: