UHV Guarantee offers free tuition to students outside Victoria area

March 12, 2012 at 7:04 p.m.
Updated March 12, 2012 at 10:13 p.m.

The University of Houston-Victoria will next school year offer free tuition and fees to students who meet certain criteria.

Called the UHV Guarantee, the program will cover expenses for Texas freshmen and sophomores from outside the Victoria area whose families have an annual income of $50,000 or less.

Tuition and fees will be covered by federal, state and/or university aid while students pursue a bachelor's degree in face-to-face classes at the Victoria campus.

This year's tuition and fees, for an in-state undergraduate taking 12 credit hours, are $2,363 per semester, according to the UHV website.

"Although UHV is one of the most affordable universities in Texas, we realized that it isn't enough for some students who dream of achieving a higher education but whose families can't afford the cost," UHV President Phil Castille was quoted as saying in a news release. "The UHV Guarantee is our guarantee to low-income families from outside the Victoria area that we are committed to their children having access to a quality higher education."

Students whose families have annual incomes from $50,001 to $90,000 will have 50 percent of their tuition and fees covered, and those with family incomes of more than $90,000 will receive up to a $1,000 UHV scholarship, according to the release. For students who are ineligible for the guarantee, UHV will offer personalized financial aid counseling.

Students who currently qualify for the Jaguar Pledge can also qualify for the UHV Guarantee, with award amounts based on annual family income levels and eligibility for federal and state support.

The Jaguar Pledge guaranteed qualifying freshmen and sophomores aid that covers at least a third of their tuition and fees for two years.

The UHV Guarantee, like the Jaguar Pledge, will not be available to students from Victoria, Calhoun, DeWitt and Lavaca counties, as well as portions of Gonzales, Jackson and Refugio counties. These areas are not eligible because they conflict with UHV's Memorandum of Understanding with Victoria College, which seeks to serve those area students.

According to the release, students who receive the UHV Guarantee must be:

A new UHV freshman or sophomore in fall 2012

A Texas resident from outside the Victoria area pursing an undergraduate degree

Eligible to receive federal, state and/or university aid

Taking face-to-face classes on the Victoria campus at UHV

Students must enroll in at least 12 semester credit hours at UHV each semester, remain in good academic standing and make satisfactory academic progress to keep the financial aid. The UHV Guarantee covers tuition and fees during only the fall and spring semesters, according to the release.

"This will just encourage more freshmen and sophomores to come to Victoria and see all that our university has to offer," UHV Student Senate President Emily Bergstrom said in the news release. "I know a lot of students that the UHV Guarantee will help."

UHV has accepted more than 750 freshmen and sophomores for the upcoming fall semester, though it's unclear how many of those students will actually attend.

UHV has grown from an upper-division teaching center offering junior-, senior- and graduate-level classes in space leased from Victoria College to an institution of more than 4,000 students taking classes in Victoria, Sugar Land, Katy and online. About 60 percent of UHV's students in Victoria are freshmen and sophomores, according to the release.



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