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An educated and trained population is the foundation for having a responsible, highly developed, and prosperous community. Brownsville is no stranger to this valued piece of truth, which is why it continuously strives to raise the standards and improve the quality of its education system.

Brownsville Independent School District

The Brownsville Independent School District (BISD) is the largest employer in the Rio Grande Valley, with approximately 7,670 employees working for 55 schools serving almost 50,000 students. In 2008 BISD was the winner of the Broad Prize for Urban Education, an annual $1 million award that honors school districts across the U.S. making the greatest progress in raising student achievement.

BISD Quick Facts:

  • BISD was named the 2014 National Hispanic Institute School District of the Year.
  • The district was selected for the National Advanced Placement Honor Roll in 2015.
  • Four elementary campuses, Benavides, Breeden, Ortiz, and Paredes, earned Excellence in Urban Education Awards from the Center for Urban School Transformation.
  • Brownsville ISD equaled or outperformed the state in 3 of 4 Target Indexes and outperformed Region One in 2 of 4 Indexes in the 2015 Texas accountability system.
  • Seven Brownsville ISD high schools have been designated by the Texas Education Agency as Early College High Schools supporting the district's overall commitment to a college-going culture. The Early College High Schools enable students to simultaneously earn 60 tuition-free college hours and/or an Associate’s Degree and a high school diploma in just four years.
  • The STAMP and SPACE College Preparatory Programs are available at every BISD Early College High School.
  • BISD's elite nationally recognized chess teams continue to add to their established record of success.
  • Brownsville ISD 2015 graduating seniors were offered over $46 million in college scholarships.
  • The district's Career and Technical Education Program offers high school students 15 tuition-free programs of study that can lead to certification and possible credit at participating Texas community colleges.
  • All middle schools feature a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Magnet Program.
  • The BISD 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program won the State's PRIME Award for the third consecutive year, making Texas history.

South Texas Independent School District

South Texas Independent School District (STISD) serves junior high and high school students who live in the Rio Grande Valley.  The district is comprised of six magnet schools: Rising Scholars Academy of South Texas in San Benito; South Texas Business, Education & Technology Academy in Edinburg; South Texas Academy for Medical Professions in Brownsville; South Texas High School for Health Professions in Mercedes; The Science Academy of South Texas in Mercedes; and South Texas Preparatory Academy in Edinburg.

The only all-magnet school district in the state, STISD offers Valley students with an educational alternative. STISD schools provide a personal environment, a strong scholastic program and hands-on training in various professional career fields.

STISD Quick Facts:

  • All schools are accredited by the Texas Education Agency and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • Over 95 percent of STISD graduates continue their education at major universities or technical colleges.
  • For the second year in a row, South Texas Independent School District (STISD) and five of its campuses were ranked among the best in the state and nation in the Niche Best K-12 Schools lists.

Private Schools

Brownsville also has 13 private schools, which include elementary, middle, and high school and which together comprise a student population of over 3,000. Brownsville’s private schools also offer an excellent education, with exceptional staff and extraordinary opportunities.

Higher Education

The Brownsville MSA provides three institutions of higher education and training: University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, Texas Southmost College, and Texas State Technical College at Harlingen.


In Fall 2015, The University of Texas at Brownsville and the University of Texas Pan American (UTPA) merged to become the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV).  With campuses throughout the Rio Grande Valley, UTRGV empowers successful futures, enhances daily life, and lets our region shine as a global innovator in higher education, bilingual education, health education, biomedical research, and emerging technology that inspires positive change.

The new university will also be home to a School of Medicine and will transform Texas and the nation by becoming a leader in student success, teaching, research, and health care.

Texas Southmost College

Originally established in 1926, Texas Southmost College currently offers the first two years toward a bachelor’s degree, along with career and technical education leading to certificates and associate degrees, college preparatory studies to prepare students for college-level work, workforce training, and continuing education. Recently selected as a Bright Spot by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, TSC offers 53 programs of study leading to an associate degree or certificate. TSC became independently operational in the fall of 2013, after engaging in a 20-year contractual arrangement with a public university.

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