UHD Receives $750K Reskilling Grant to Help Returning Students Complete Degrees
By Mark Kramer
The University of Houston-Downtown received a $750,000 grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to support students seeking to complete their degrees after pausing their college education.
Funding from THECB’s Reskilling Grant will assist returning students seeking their bachelor’s degrees and provide resources to guide them toward success in the career marketplace.
According to Associate Vice President of Planning & Curriculum Dr. Michelle Moosally, this grant is a game changer for students who may have left school because of personal or financial reasons — with some needing to complete only a few classes to graduate.
“We have identified over 2,000 UHD students who have left UHD in the past six years without completing a degree, yet were in good standing,” she said. “With this grant, we can support their return and completion by providing financial support to cover tuition and fees for up to one or two courses in a semester for 500 students.”
Moosally said identifying those students and others like them will require a joint effort from all of the UHD colleges, Financial Aid and Admissions. She added that communications will be sent in the next few weeks encouraging this group of students to register for the summer and fall semesters.
“UHD serves a diverse population as a Hispanic-Serving and Minority-Serving Institution with a commitment to providing access and opportunity to first-generation and working adult students in the Houston region,” Moosally emphasized. “This Reskilling Grant aligns directly with those goals to provide support for students who have stopped out at some point to be able to complete a marketable credential.”
To that end, one program that serves as an example of building pathways toward a degree and career advancement is University College’s Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Applied Administration (BAAS-AA). The program is designed to offer students the opportunity to develop competencies, skills, and the foundation to prepare them for promotions to administrative and supervisory positions in corporate or non-profit organizations.
University College Dean Scott Marzilli and his leadership team are involved in regular collaborative efforts with several other Texas universities through THECB to help students return and complete their degrees with the valued professional skills and education that tomorrow’s career market will demand. Their work is the foundation of the Governor’s Emergency Educational Relief (GEER) Fund and they are leading the academic side components.
“Through the ‘Return 2 Complete’ UHD student reclamation initiative, our returning students will be supported throughout the entirety of the process by our dedicated program associates, success advisors and program directors Dr. Melissa Hovsepian and Sydney Zenon,” Marzilli said. “We can’t wait to support our students and help them fulfil their dream of earning their degree.”
Moosally noted that the Reskilling Grant program is supported by a portion of the $175 million allocation to the THECB from the GEER Fund.
“A grant of this size enables UHD to be a leader in the critical work of helping Texans leverage their previous education to attain a bachelor’s degree, which in turn can create professional and advancement opportunities. The bottom line is that we can help more students maximize their potential, and that is what UHD is all about,” Moosally said.
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.