Houston GPS Supports Transfer Students
13 Institutions Committed to the Success of Transfer Students
By Mike Emery
Senior Director, University Communication
University of Houston
What do “Star Wars” creator George Lucas, bestselling author Amy Tan, baseball legend Jackie Robinson and Oscar-winner Tom Hanks have in common?
All of these trailblazers began their higher education experiences at community colleges and then transferred to four-year universities. They are prime examples of successful transfer students, who emerged from their respective institutions ready to change the world.
National Transfer Student Week runs Oct. 17 - 21, spotlighting those students starting their journeys at community colleges; continuing their quests at universities; and ultimately, beginning new adventures with degrees in hand.
In the Houston area, 13 institutions are committed to the success of transfer students within the region. This coalition, known as Houston Guided Pathways to Success (Houston GPS), helps students seamlessly transition from community colleges to universities.
“Houston GPS plays an essential role on each of our campuses and throughout the region,” said Dr. Loren J. Blanchard, UHD president and chair of the Houston GPS Governing Council. “The mantra at my university is ‘Once a student is enrolled, then the clock begins ticking on our responsibility to make sure they persist and graduate.’ This philosophy holds true for all of our institutions, and Houston GPS helps us ‘beat the clock,’ so to speak. We’re able to work together to ensure students achieve their goal of earning bachelor’s degrees in a timely manner.”
Houston GPS institutions include the University of Houston, University of Houston-Downtown, University of Houston-Clear Lake, University of Houston-Victoria, Texas Southern University, Prairie View A&M University, Houston Community College, Lone Star College, Alvin Community College, College of the Mainland, San Jacinto Community College District, Galveston College and Wharton County College.
Students attending these institutions can use Houston GPS’ degree maps to chart a course toward their selected bachelor’s degrees. These degree maps essentially outline those community college courses that will transfer to a student’s university of choice. Likewise, they offer guidance for students entering a four-year institution as to which classes to take for their respective majors.
Additionally, community college and university advisors work in tandem to effectively guide students to their final destinations of completing their degrees without excess credit hours or additional debt.
Those key words, “without excess credit hours or additional debt,” are critical to Houston GPS’ mission.
“Our goal is to help students navigate clear academic pathways, free from detours, and with the final destination of graduating clearly in sight,” said Teri Longacre, University of Houston associate dean for academic affairs.
Houston GPS began at UH under the watchful eye of Provost Emeritus Paula Myrick Short and is driven by a Governing Council comprised of college and university chancellors, presidents, and other academic officers.
Further supporting Houston GPS’ efforts is the Equity Walk Initiative, a project focused on providing equitable academic outcomes for students from all cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.
During National Transfer Student Week, Houston GPS will celebrate those transfer students — or those who will transfer soon —who are making the grade at their respective institutions. Houstonians also are encouraged to spotlight their friends or family members who are transfers/future transfers on social media with the hashtag #TransferStudentWeek.
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.