Victoria city, county leaders support UHV’s $166 million legislative request

Local government leaders are backing the University of Houston-Victoria’s legislative request to accommodate student growth in Victoria.

On Feb. 3, the Victoria City Council unanimously passed a resolution recognizing the essential role of UHV in the Coastal Bend and supporting UHV’s request of $166 million in Tuition Revenue Bonds during the 2015 Texas Legislative session. The Victoria County Commission passed a similar resolution on Tuesday.

Resolutions provide a framework local governments can use to show support for community plans, and promote and encourage certain behaviors.

Vic Morgan

“UHV is most appreciative of the Victoria City Council and Victoria County Commission for taking action to support our efforts to build a comprehensive, regional university,” UHV Interim President Vic Morgan said. “Having local officials on board with our growth plans will be a big help to our case in Austin.”

UHV is requesting $166 million in Tuition Revenue Bonds and $6 million in program development funds during the 84th Texas legislative session.

The bonds would be used for continued support of UHV’s transition to a four-year residential university. The bond money would pay for new academic space, renovation of the existing University West and University Center buildings and land acquisition. The program funds would be used to establish at least a dozen new academic programs.

Both resolutions mention how UHV’s goal of achieving 6,000 face-to-face student on the Victoria campus by 2025 will play a major role in the economic development of the Crossroads by adding jobs and funneling money into the economy.

“UHV needs funding to provide adequate academic programs, resources and facilities as student enrollment increases,” Morgan said. “The impact of that enrollment growth will provide far-reaching benefits to the people and businesses in Victoria County and the surrounding region. Right now, only 20.2 percent of Coastal South Texas residents older than age 24 have a bachelor’s degree or higher compared to 26 percent statewide. UHV is playing an active role in increasing that figure by bringing access and affordability to many students who would not otherwise attend college.”

The UH System also has pledged to support UHV’s request for state funding as a top priority in the legislative session. Morgan was in Austin on Monday and Tuesday visiting with legislators and state officials about the TRB request.

UHV received $25 million in state money when the university first began enrolling freshmen and sophomores in fall 2010. However, the university did not receive any money for construction. Several other universities that added underclassmen, such as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and the University of Texas at Tyler, have received generous TRB authorization for their campuses, Morgan said.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Jeremy Shapiro