UHD Commemorates National Scholarship Month in November
By Mike Emery
An ongoing pandemic, lost jobs and other factors have presented challenges for countless Americans seeking to continue their academic journeys. Scholarships, however, are making the difference for college students and helping them reach the finish line with degrees in hand.
November is National Scholarship Month (sponsored by the National Scholarship Providers Association), and the University of Houston-Downtown is celebrating its students who are progressing in their academic careers with the support of scholarships. Likewise, the University encourages students to seek out scholarship opportunities on the UHD website and other sources.
Approximately 1.7 million private scholarships and fellowships are annually awarded to students across the nation. In Texas, eligible students can apply for a number of state scholarship and grant programs to help them achieve their academic goals.
According to Dr. Daniel Villanueva, UHD Vice President for Enrollment Management, there is often a misconception among students as to how scholarships are awarded. That leads to missed opportunities and lost dollars for students.
Villanueva advises students to seek out any financial assistance that may be available. Any amount of funding, he noted, makes a difference in lessening debt and even improving academic performance.
“Simply knowing that your books are paid for, or your fees are covered can bring some peace of mind at the end of the day and allows students to focus on their studies,” he said.
UHD Student Government Association President Shamika Jefferson is well aware of the positive impact a scholarship can make. Jefferson, a second year Master of Business Administration student, received a significant award from the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. She is one of 253 students nationwide to be selected for this scholarship.
“It is a great honor to have been selected as a 2021 PCAOB Scholar,” Jefferson said. “This year has presented many challenges for all of us, and I am very fortunate to have received the PCAOB scholarship. It has blessed me to accomplish my goal to obtain my MBA.”
While Jefferson is working to complete her graduate degree, Business student Mateo Muñoz has started his first year of college through the support of the Tu Futuro scholarship. This particular scholarship (presented by Univision Houston in partnership with UHD) is covering his entire undergraduate education.
Muñoz earned this scholarship through an essay competition in which he outlined his goals of giving back to his community after earning his degree.
“While the scholarship money would help to pay for my education, I see it as more than just a way to have less debt, it’s a way to inspire and bring my community together through not only as an example, but action,” wrote Muñoz in his essay. “This scholarship is just the first step in my plan, it is the foundation for a better future.”
National Scholarship Month both celebrates students such as Jefferson and Muñoz and also increases awareness about scholarships and their increased importance for college students.
“Students assume that all scholarships are based on academic standing, and that isn’t always the case,” Villanueva said. “Many scholarships are awarded based on a variety of factors. These include scholarships based on financial need … or for specific areas of study. Students need to know that there are scholarships in varying amounts that come from many sources. These may be from private sources … from the community … or from universities. That is why National Scholarship Month is important … to let students know that higher education is accessible, and support is available if they seek it.”
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.