Gator Pledge Continues to Cover Tuition, Fees for UHD Students
By Mike Emery
Each fall, thousands of Houstonians seek to continue their academic journeys at the University of Houston-Downtown. Small classes, nationally-ranked degree programs, a convenient campus and affordable tuition are just some of the reasons many students select UHD as their university of choice.
Another reason some Houstonians look to the University is its pledge to help them graduate debt free … the Gator Pledge.
This program helps incoming freshmen with family incomes of $50,000 or less by covering tuition and fees for up to four years.
“As students transition from high school into a university, there are so many things to think about—adapting to a new learning environment and more challenging curriculum. But the number one thing that can be a distraction to students is how they are going to pay for tuition,” said Daniel Villanueva, associate vice president for Enrollment Management at UHD. “The Gator Pledge allows both students and their families to rest assured that higher education costs will be covered.”
Among the students who are currently benefitting from UHD’s Gator Pledge is Carlos Casia, a sophomore accounting major. Before learning of this program, he wasn’t sure how he or his family could afford a college education. Thankfully, he discovered the Pledge program, applied for it and is on track to graduate in 2021.
“It’s been a relief,” he said. “I’m able to focus on my studies and not worry about how I am going to pay for my education.”
He advises all students who are graduating from high school to explore the financial aid opportunities available at UHD and to check their eligibility with regards to the Gator Pledge.
“Many students might think of not attending college because of tuition costs,” he said. “My advice to students graduating high school is to look into programs like the Gator Pledge and discover what kind of assistance is available.”
Students preparing to enter UHD this fall can apply for the Gator Pledge through May 1. Eligibility criteria is as follows:
- First-time-in-college freshmen entering UHD for the Fall 2020 term
- Texas residents
- High school graduates with recommended or distinguished diplomas
- A member of a household with an annual adjusted gross income not exceeding $50,000
- Eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant (with all financial aid forms and supporting documents submitted by May 1)
- Enrolled as a first-time student at UHD with a minimum of 24 credit hours taken during a 12-month period
Students who meet this criteria can receive Gator Pledge support if they 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.
“High school seniors looking at UHD as their institution of choice should complete the Gator Pledge application at their earliest convenience,” Villanueva said. “They also should begin preparing their FAFSA paperwork.”
The Gator Pledge is just one of the programs aimed at supporting student success at UHD. It also complements the University’s status as having the lowest tuition in Houston and offering students one of the most affordable higher education experiences in Texas.
This program also is aimed to help offset the increasing amount of student debt across the nation. According to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Americans owed as much as $1.6 trillion collectively in federal land private student loan debt during 2019.
“UHD is committed to ensuring that students graduate with the highest quality education and the least amount of debt,” Villanueva said. “The Gator Pledge helps ensure that our graduates are ready for that next chapter, whether it’s a career or graduate school … without the worry of debt.”
More details are available on the Gator Pledge website.
Daniel Villanueva, associate vice president for Enrollment Management at UHD, discussed the Gator Pledge on a recent edition of FOX26's morning show.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) – the second-largest university in Houston – 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 more than 15,000 students; boasts more than 61,000 alumni and offers 45 bachelor’s, nine master’s degree programs and 16 fully online programs within five colleges (Marilyn Davies College of Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Public Service; Sciences & Technology; and University College).
For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks UHD among universities across the nation for Best Online Criminal Justice Programs (No. 27 and No. 15 for Veterans) and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.
UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. U.S. News ranked the University among Top Performers on Social Mobility and awarded UHD a No. 1 ranking as the most diverse institution of higher education in the southern region of the U.S. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.