Gator Pledge Continues to Cover Tuition, Fee Costs for Students Earning $50K or Less
Applications Open Through May 15
By Mike Emery
The University of Houston-Downtown is ranked as one of the most affordable universities in Texas and the most diverse in the region. For many students, however, UHD also remains one of the most accessible universities in the state as it provides numerous opportunities to students who thought higher education was out of reach.
This accessibility is part of UHD’s pledge … or its Gator Pledge … to students.
The Gator Pledge supports students whose families’ adjusted gross income (AGI) is $50,000 annually or less. It covers tuition and fees for up to four years. The program not only provides financial peace of mind but supports student success at UHD.
“We’re really excited to roll out this program again this year,” said UHD Vice President of Enrollment Management Daniel Villanueva. “UHD is an institution committed to access and this program is the pinnacle of our administration’s goal in educating Houstonians and preparing them for the workforce.”
Applications are open for the Gator Pledge through May 15. To apply, students must meet the following eligibility requirements:
• First-time-in-college freshmen entering UHD for the Fall 2021 term
• Texas residents
• High school graduates with recommended or distinguished diplomas
• A member of a household with an annual AGI not exceeding $50,000
• Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant (with all financial aid forms and supporting documents submitted by May 15)
• Enrolled as a first-time student at UHD with a minimum of 24 credit hours taken during a 12-month period
In addition to the above criteria, students must meet academic and financial aid eligibility and maintain a minimum 2.5 grade point average. Tuition and fees covered by the Gator Pledge are for fall and spring semesters only, and students’ eligibility is based on Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FASFA) information.
One of the students who is excelling in his classes at UHD because of the Gator Pledge is junior Accounting major Carlos Casia.
“I was afraid I would be unable to pay for tuition,” he said. “When I found out I was eligible for the Gator Pledge, I was truly thankful for the University.”
Casia added that the Gator Pledge not only removes financial burdens but also allows him to focus on prioritizing his studies.
“I’m able to concentrate on my classes, so I can keep my grades up and be prepared for graduation,” he added.
According to recent data, student loan debt in the U.S. is approximately $1.7 trillion. This is the nation’s second highest consumer debt category behind mortgage loans.
That total is staggering … and can be financially crippling for students, but according to Villanueva, programs such as the Gator Pledge can help ensure students realize their goals of earning degrees while incurring little to no debt.
“College debt is one of the top concerns from prospective students,” Villanueva said. “The Gator Pledge program really highlights UHD’s commitment to helping low-income students realize that higher education can be a reality for them and their families.”
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.