13:03 PM

UHD Celebrates Outstanding Fall 2023 Class of Merit Scholars


By Percy Sandel, Assistant Director, Enrollment Communications and CRM

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is proud to announce its distinguished cohort of Merit Scholars starting this fall semester. This exceptional group of 31 freshman and 27 transfer students has not only demonstrated academic excellence but also a commitment to personal growth and community service.

Selected through a highly competitive application process, these Merit Scholars are not only receiving full-ride scholarships covering tuition and fees, but they are also awarded a $2,000 stipend each academic year. Freshman Merit Scholars can renew their scholarships for up to four years, while Transfer Merit Scholars can renew for up to two years. This incredible financial support eases the burden of educational expenses and recognizes the students’ outstanding achievements.

Dr. Daniel Villanueva, Vice President of Enrollment Management, highlighted the caliber of students who were awarded the scholarships, “These students were identified via a separate application process that included a written or video essay and an interview. Each of the scholarship recipients shared remarkable stories of overcoming immense life challenges while maintaining a high academic GPA.”


Villanueva noted that the Merit Scholars were selected based on their impressive academic résumés and high GPAs, distinguishing themselves as high achievers among their peers. The application process included submitting either a written or video essay, showcasing their exceptional writing and communication skills, and required the students to participate in multiple interview rounds.

“UHD is committed to recruiting dedicated freshman and transfer students, and this program ensures that not only are we focused on recruitment, but also their success,” Villanueva explained. “Participants will be working closely as a cohort throughout their time at UHD with academic success programming, wraparound services, and social events until graduation.”

Jaxon RayeTransfer Merit Scholarship recipient Jaxon Raye, a transfer from Lone Star College, shared, “To be named a UHD Transfer Merit Scholar is indescribable … I am able to fully apply myself within my classes and am able to engage the community at UHD without the financial burden on my shoulders.”

Being part of the Merit Scholarship Program at UHD offers these students more than just financial support: It provides them with opportunities for service, networking, travel, and invitations to special events that will support their personal, professional, and academic growth during their time at the University. This program goes beyond traditional scholarships and aims to cultivate a well-rounded educational experience for its recipients.

This class of UHD Merit Scholars represents a bright future for both the University and the broader community. Their academic achievements, coupled with their dedication to personal and community growth, make them shining examples of what can be accomplished through hard work and determination.

About the University of Houston-Downtown

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.