UHD Partners With Harmony Public Schools to Ensure Student Success
By Marie Jacinto
In support of college accessibility for low-income, first-generation students, UHD and the state-wide school district Harmony Public Schools (HPS) recently signed their inaugural K-12 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
The signing took place on the UHD campus with students from four Harmony campuses in the Houston area in attendance. They were representative of the 150 HPS seniors already admitted to UHD for fall 2024 as compared to the 46 Harmony alumni in the current UHD freshman class. In general, UHD projects record freshman enrollment for fall 2024.
The MOU aims to create an environment where HPS alumni can excel academically while making significant leadership contributions on the UHD campus and in the broader community with:
- Pre-college opportunities to both current HPS students and alumni.
- Visits by UHD to Harmony campuses.
- Data-sharing between HPS and UHD to streamline the application process inclusive of financial aid.
- Presentations to HPS team members to learn about UHD.
- Harmony counselors on-site at UHD.
“We often talk about accessibility and affordability, but today we are focusing on achievability,” UHD President Loren J. Blanchard said. “Why is this partnership so important? When we look at student success, we define it as college degree attainment. At UHD, our graduates earn degrees of value so that success after graduation means that they are not only prepared to enter the workforce but also to become the leaders in their professions and communities.”
Blanchard added, “It is imperative that UHD provide the support for its students to be able to fuel Houston’s economy with the nurses, teachers, police officers, scientists, social workers, and other critical professionals needed by the city.”
HPS Houston North District Area Superintendent Recep Yilmaz emphasized the importance of retention and graduation rates, noting that HPS’ goal is 90% retention rate for students. "Harmony’s partnership with the University of Houston-Downtown marks an exciting milestone for our schools and students,” Yilmaz said. “Together, we will be able to provide new and unparalleled educational opportunities for our students that will cultivate a lifelong love of learning and provide the tools for an inspiring future ahead.”
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.