Higher ed leaders assemble for new commercial spotlighting college affordability, access

May 21, 2019 | University of Houston-Downtown

This week, a new online commercial will premiere that promotes the power of partnerships between community colleges and the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD).

Featured in this advertisement are leaders from four of the region’s largest institutions of higher education—UHD President, Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz; Houston Community College (HCC) Chancellor, Dr. Cesar Maldonado; San Jacinto College Chancellor, Dr. Brenda Hellyer; and Lone Star College (LSC) Chancellor, Dr. Stephen Head.

The video intersperses scenes of UHD graduates in caps and gowns preparing to earn their diplomas with testimonies from Chancellors Maldonado, Hellyer and Head, and President Muñoz. Each leader offers insights on the value of cross-institutional collaborations.

From HCC’s Central College campus, Chancellor Maldonado addresses the importance of college-university partnerships.

“We believe getting a four-year college degree should be available to everyone,” he says. “So, we’ve partnered with universities to make this possible for all students in Houston.”

Chancellor Hellyer then addresses the significance of these alliances in helping students graduate on time, without excess credit hours and without additional debt.

“Through our partnerships, you’ll be able to take only the classes you need without the additional cost or debt,” Chancellor Hellyer says in the video while walking through San Jacinto College’s Central Campus.

Flexibility is another topic addressed in the commercial. Speaking from LSC’s new Center for Science and Innovation (located at LSC-University Park), Chancellor Head discusses students’ options for distance learning or face-to-face instruction at different campuses throughout the area.

“You can select a campus close to home or take classes online, making it more convenient so that you can balance school, family and your career,” he says.

The spot wraps at UHD, where graduates approach the stage to receive their diplomas. President Muñoz then walks through the University’s Welcome Center reminding students of the benefits of transferring to UHD.

“By starting your degree at a community college and finishing at a four-year university, you’re choosing the most affordable and flexible bachelor’s degree in the Houston area and from among the most respected Texas schools,” he says.

The commercial underscores existing partnerships between UHD and each of the participating community colleges. During the past two years, the University has worked with HCCSan Jacinto College and Lone Star College to provide seamless pathways for students transferring associate’s credits to UHD undergraduate programs. Articulation agreements between UHD and participating colleges have yielded degree maps outlining the courses required for specific associate degrees and bachelor’s programs (thus reducing excess hours and additional debt). These agreements also have led to embedded UHD advisers working at colleges to assist in the transfer process, and joint admissions that allow students to simultaneously enroll at UHD and community colleges.

UHD continues to grow its community college partners. Recently, it committed to a new collaboration with Galveston College (GC).

UHD’s partnerships with colleges, such as those featured in the new commercial and Galveston College, are part of the Houston Guided Pathways to Success (Houston GPS) initiative. This effort helps fulfill the goal of the 60x30TX plan of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, whose overall goal is to have at least 60 percent of Texans ages 25 – 34 complete a technical certificate or degree by 2030. Led by the University of Houston, Houston GPS includes Houston and Gulf Coast area institutions working together to create an integrated system of cohesive, interdependent strategies designed to increase and accelerate student completion and a smooth two-year to four-year college transfer process while improving educational quality for Houston-area students, ultimately saving students time and money.

“Higher education must be affordable, accessible and achievable for all students in the state of Texas,” said President Muñoz. “I am grateful to all of the participating Chancellors for contributing to this new advertisement that highlights these very points and our efforts to help students efficiently complete their post-secondary education here in greater Houston.

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD)—the second largest university in Houston—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 Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz. Annually, UHD educates more than 14,000 students; boasts over 50,000 alumni and offers 44 bachelor’s and eight master’s degree programs within five colleges (Marilyn Davies College of Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Public Service, Sciences & Technology; and University College). In 2018, UHD grew its First Time in College student population by 11 percent and transfer students by 14 percent.

UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston. It also is ranked among 15 U.S. universities with lowest net price to students (according to the U.S. Department of Education). The University is noted nationally as both a Hispanic-Serving Institution and a Minority-Serving Institution. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.