Seal Your Success Campaign Expands Educational Access
By Hayden Bergman
UHD leadership has had a simple mission during the 2023 Seal Your Success campaign: expand educational access and equity to historically excluded students.
How might this be accomplished, you ask?
In the words of Dr. Daniel Villanueva, Vice President, Enrollment Management, one can simply highlight UHD’s “commitment to access, affordability, and achievability,” and make sure that prospective students and their parents know exactly what UHD provides: a “unique and affordable academic and student life experience.”
Throughout the past several months, the Seal Your Success campaign engaged 15 area high schools, including schools in Spring ISD, Channelview ISD, Aldine ISD, and Houston ISD, and reached more than 2,000 students. In addition to this community outreach, the campaign held programming on UHD’s campus for an additional eight high schools.
During these events, students learned how UHD assists with the transition from high school to college life, and they also heard about the many resources available to ensure that those who start at UHD complete their degree (resources such as peer mentoring, the basic needs program, and the Food for Change Market). Together, these resources ensure students can make education their top priority.
These efforts are working, as there has been a nearly 12% increase in the number of high school seniors who have received admissions letters from UHD. “[We are] experiencing record-breaking application numbers for the upcoming fall semester,” said Dr. Villanueva. “Students, parents, and area high school counselors are identifying more and more that UHD is an up-and-coming institution that continues to provide a unique and affordable academic and student life experience in the heart of downtown Houston.”
What about those students who don’t fit in the traditional student mold, or those who might need (or want) academic or social support between high school and college? For these folks, there is the Summer Bridge Program, which runs from July 10 through August 10, and serves to assist students that have applied for admission to UHD for summer 2023 and fall 2023 but don’t meet the GPA minimum criteria for admission.
“Students see this program as an advantage to kick-start into their academic future,” said Dr. Elizabeth Villegas, Assistant Vice President, Enrollment Services, who is also leading the Summer Bridge Program. “Some of these students didn’t believe they would have the opportunity to attend a university. They are responding with sheer pleasure [to the program].”
About 20 students will attend the program for classes in English composition and Algebra. They will also receive leadership training and additional tutoring, as well as on-campus summer employment, laptops, and on-campus dining funds to help offset the cost of success.
“The University is truly invested in helping all students interested in higher education.”
Those are the words of Villanueva, but, thankfully, they're backed up by his work, along with the work of Villegas and the teams associated with the Seal Your Success Campaign and Summer Bridge program.
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.