UHV joins national campaign to raise awareness about value of state universities

To help get the word out about the University of Houston-Victoria’s accessibility, affordability and value, UHV President Vic Morgan has signed a pledge supporting the Opportunities for All national campaign.

Vic Morgan

Launched by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities as a branding initiative, the campaign aims to raise awareness and understanding of the shared values of state colleges and universities.

“This campaign is about showing what state colleges and universities do best,” Morgan said. “It shows how SCUs are smart investments by offering a quality, accessible education, and how these institutions are deeply committed to the regions they serve. UHV is committed to these qualities, and I’m on board with this initiative.”

There are 420 AASCU colleges and universities in the U.S., including 25 in Texas. The large land grant and research universities in Texas are not part of AASCU.

Nearly 4 million students attend state colleges and universities, representing 46 percent of all students at public four-year institutions. Consequently, it is an important segment of the population that depends on these institutions for their future, Morgan said.

In 2013, AASCU commissioned a survey to assess public perceptions of state colleges and universities. While the research reaffirmed that these schools provide high-quality, accessible and affordable college opportunities, the public was split on whether college was worth the investment.

Further research showed some key stakeholders – lawmakers, opinion leaders, prospective students, parents and the general public – did not fully understand or appreciate the value of AASCU institutions.

“The learning opportunities offered at state colleges and universities throughout the U.S. are a critical component of our higher education system,” Morgan said. “Yet there have been too many examples of these universities being underappreciated or misinterpreted. That’s why this campaign is necessary. We want people to see the value institutions like UHV have on the communities we serve.”

UHV shares a fundamental responsibility to create a skilled workforce to support local businesses and advance economic progress and cultural development, he said.

In 2015, UHV created the Center for Economic Development & Entrepreneurship. The regional center partners with Aransas, Bee, Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Gonzales, Jackson, Karnes, Lavaca, Refugio and Victoria counties to create rural jobs, increase community awareness and involvement in regional economic development, and better prepare the region for economic stability during cyclical downturns.

A study released in 2015, “Demonstrating the Economic Value of the University of Houston-Victoria,” by Economic Modeling Specialists International of Moscow, Idaho, showed that the spending of the university’s students, visitors and alumni created $185 million in added income to the Coastal Bend economy during fiscal year 2013. The study also found that every dollar that students invest in a UHV education will translate to a return of $2.40 in higher lifetime income.

“It sometimes goes unnoticed with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but UHV adds a tremendous amount of value to the economic advancement of the Coastal Bend, not to mention contributing to intellectual and cultural development,” Morgan said.

Another key component of the campaign is serving students who are generally underrepresented in higher education. UHV is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and a Military Friendly School. It also is home to many students who are the first in their family to attend college.

“One of the many things UHV does well is cater to families that are not familiar with what it’s like to attend college,” Morgan said. “Part of being open and accessible is having staff members in place, such as our Student Success Coaches, that make first-generation students feel welcome.”

UHV has created a web page at to share more information about Opportunities for All.

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