UHV partners with San Antonio school district

UHV President Bob Glenn, right, and Pedro Martinez, superintendent of the San Antonio Independent School District, pose Monday after signing a partnership agreement in San Antonio.

Representatives from the University of Houston-Victoria and San Antonio Independent School District signed an agreement Monday that provides extensive advising and financial support to enable up to 10 graduating seniors to attend the university as freshmen each year starting this fall.

Financial aid for the students will be met by UHV through a combination of scholarships, grants, loans and work study opportunities, as funds allow. The university’s application fee also will be waived for these students.

David Cockrum

 “We have had a significant number of our freshman applicants coming from Bexar County,” said David Cockrum, UHV interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We discovered that many of those students applied to UHV, but only a few enrolled. When we were approached by the San Antonio Independent School District to establish this partnership, we knew it would help increase post-secondary opportunities. We’re excited about the possibilities.”

The school district’s college bound advisors will identify students with an interest in attending a residential liberal arts college, who have taken preparatory courses through the school district and have a minimum GPA of a 90 on a 100-point scale or are in the top 20 percent of their class. These “SAISD Scholars” also will be required to have a combined SAT score of at least 1,000, with at least a 500 on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section, or an ACT composite score of 22.

“This joint venture will help us create more postsecondary enrollment opportunities for our high school students and encourage them to pursue college for the long haul,” said Linda Vargas-Lew, the school district’s director of postsecondary college success. “Many of our students will be first-generation college students, so we want them to understand that college is affordable, earning a degree is obtainable, and they can do it.”

Billy Legal

The agreement also states that university administrators will be able to invite all admitted San Antonio district students to UHV events to experience Victoria and the UHV campus, said Billy Lagal, UHV director of admissions and student recruitment. During the trip, students will be able to ask questions, be interviewed for admissions and scholarship eligibility, and be assigned a UHV point-of-contact who will provide support. Of the group, 10 district “SAISD Scholars” will be selected based on merit and high interest.

“We want the students and their parents to experience UHV’s campus so they can begin connecting with key support staff and feel secure in their decision to enroll at the university,” said Patricia Ortiz, the school district’s college alumni advisor.

Ortiz will serve as a liaison between the high school students and UHV to provide ongoing support. Ortiz and Vargas-Lew plan to coordinate a trip with the selected “SAISD Scholars” and their families to attend the UHV International Festival on Friday and a future Jaguar Day recruitment event. All students admitted from the school’s district also will be invited to attend.

“Our hope in this partnership is to encourage students to pursue higher education opportunities, help them enroll and ultimately, accomplish their goal of earning a degree,” Cockrum 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.

Ashley Strevel 361-570-4342