UHD Makes the Grade as a Standout Among Texas Colleges for Low Student Debt
By Sheryl E. Taylor
When considering college as either a first-time or a returning student, the determining factor is the tuition cost.
President Joe Biden’s recent decision to forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt will help at least 3.6 million Texans saddled with college loans. Federal student loans make up the vast majority of American education debt—about 92% of all outstanding student loans is federal debt. The nearly $1.75 trillion in total U.S. student loan debt translates into about 48 million Americans.
According to Forbes, the cost of college has steadily increased over the last 30 years with tuition growing at public four-year colleges from $4,160 to $10,740. Due to the rising costs, the need for student loans and other financial aid has also increased. In 2020, 52% of Texas college graduates had student loan debt, with an average amount of $26,273.
Now, the good news. For many UHD graduates, the financial burden of student loan debt is vastly lower than that of grads from Texas' other four-year public universities. In fact, UHD grads have the lowest debt in the Lone Star State.
A recent Houston Chronicle article took a look at Texas colleges with students who graduate with the most and least debt. The Chronicle noted that among six Texas universities that included Baylor University, Southern Methodist University, Texas Tech University, and Texas Christian University, the University of Houston-Downtown ranked the lowest for debt ($4,902); percentage of debt (14%); and private debt/percentage of private debt (0%) among 2,658 bachelor’s degrees awarded at UHD.
Additionally, the article also noted that UHD ranked among the lowest when surveying Texas’ top universities for students graduating with debt and those graduating without debt.
Another win for UHD is that among Texas colleges, the University is also among the lowest in the state and in Houston for 2022-23 tuition along with Lone Star College, Houston Community College, Texas Southern University, and The University of Texas at El Paso, per another Houston Chronicle story, “How expensive are Texas Colleges?”
“Our graduates’ ability to enter the workforce with little or no debt speaks volumes about the determination of our students as well as the affordability of a UHD education. As we continue to grow as an Anchor Institution for the Greater Houston area and invest in Student Success, UHD will be the university of choice for more and more Houstonians seeking an excellent education and career readiness,” said UHD President Loren J. Blanchard.
University HQ, a leading independent education organization that provides students with the necessary resources to prepare and plan their career path in their chosen field, ranked UHD at 53rd among Texas universities. The organization compiled a list of more than 4,000 colleges and universities nationwide, then ranked them among their peers to provide prospective students with an in-depth analysis of their programs. Ranking factors used by University HQ included cost of tuition, admission rate, retention rate, graduating salary, number of programs offered, online programs offered, loan default rate, diplomas awarded, percent of students receiving financial aid, and reputation/expert opinion.
UHD’s metric for student success is ensuring minimal impact when it comes to debt, thanks to the various forms of financial assistance programs and scholarships the University offers—approximately 82% of its full-time students receive on average $10,000 in scholarships, grants, and/or loans annually.
Just ask UHD student Riley Hardwick, the recipient of numerous scholarships, including the first the Mallett Scholarship for SCT Student/Houston PREP Alumni, the Red Rose Scholarship, and the Be On Time Scholarship.
“UHD is truly a diamond in the rough and vastly underrated,” said Hardwick. “When most prospective college students think about Texas schools, they think of UT, A&M, Rice, or UH. Not many students know of, or consider, UHD. But, UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in the state, moderate class sizes, a fantastic location in the heart of the city, incredibly helpful and attentive staff, a diverse selection of undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as numerous scholarship opportunities and student organizations.”
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.