Drosophila Elav is the founding member of the conserved family of Hu RNA-binding proteins (RBPs), which play crucial and diverse roles in post-transcriptional regulation. Elav has long served as the canonical neuronal marker. Surprisingly, although Elav has a well-characterized neural cis-regulatory module, we find endogenous Elav is also ubiquitously transcribed and post-transcriptionally repressed in non-neural settings. Mutant clones of multiple miRNA pathway components derepress ubiquitous Elav protein. Our re-annotation of the elav transcription unit shows not only that it generates extended 3' UTR isoforms, but also that its universal 3' UTR isoform is much longer than previously believed. This longer common 3' UTR includes multiple conserved, high-affinity sites for the miR-279/996 family. Of several miRNA mutants tested, endogenous Elav and a transgenic elav 3' UTR sensor are derepressed in mutant clones of mir-279/996 We also observe cross-repression of Elav by Mei-P26, another RBP derepressed in non-neural miRNA pathway clones. Ubiquitous Elav has regulatory capacity, since derepressed Elav can stabilize an Elav-responsive sensor. Repression of Elav in non-neural territories is crucial as misexpression here has profoundly adverse consequences. Altogether, we define unexpected post-transcriptional mechanisms that direct appropriate cell type-specific expression of a conserved neural RBP.