The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is proud to announce its distinguished cohort of Merit Scholars starting this fall semester. This exceptional group of 31 freshman and 27 transfer students has not only demonstrated academic excellence but also a commitment to personal growth and community service.

Selected through a highly competitive application process, these Merit Scholars are not only receiving full-ride scholarships covering tuition and fees, but they are also awarded a $2,000 stipend each academic year. Freshman Merit Scholars can renew their scholarships for up to four years, while Transfer Merit Scholars can renew for up to two years. This incredible financial support eases the burden of educational expenses and recognizes the students’ outstanding achievements.

Dr. Daniel Villanueva, Vice President of Enrollment Management, highlighted the caliber of students who were awarded the scholarships, “These students were identified via a separate application process that included a written or video essay and an interview. Each of the scholarship recipients shared remarkable stories of overcoming immense life challenges while maintaining a high academic GPA.”

Dr. Daniel Villanueva, Vice President of Enrollment Management

Villanueva noted that the Merit Scholars were selected based on their impressive academic résumés and high GPAs, distinguishing themselves as high achievers among their peers. The application process included submitting either a written or video essay, showcasing their exceptional writing and communication skills, and required the students to participate in multiple interview rounds.

“UHD is committed to recruiting dedicated freshman and transfer students, and this program ensures that not only are we focused on recruitment, but also their success,” Villanueva explained. “Participants will be working closely as a cohort throughout their time at UHD with academic success programming, wraparound services, and social events until graduation.”

Being part of the Merit Scholarship Program at UHD offers these students more than just financial support: It provides them with opportunities for service, networking, travel, and invitations to special events that will support their personal, professional, and academic growth during their time at the University. This program goes beyond traditional scholarships and aims to cultivate a well-rounded educational experience for its recipients.

Transfer Merit Scholarship recipient Jaxon Raye, a transfer from Lone Star College, shared, “To be named a UHD Transfer Merit Scholar is indescribable … I am able to fully apply myself within my classes and am able to engage the community at UHD without the financial burden on my shoulders.”

This class of UHD Merit Scholars represents a bright future for both the University and the broader community. Their academic achievements, coupled with their dedication to personal and community growth, make them shining examples of what can be accomplished through hard work and determination.

Source: By Percy Sandel, originally posted on

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Transfer students have long comprised a significant portion of the learning population at universities across Texas and the U.S. These students begin their higher education journeys at community colleges for myriad reasons, including cost, class sizes, or simply to gain clarity in their career goals.

During the week of Oct. 16 – 20, transfers across the nation will be celebrated during National Transfer Student Week. The initiative is coordinated annually by the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students to spotlight those students matriculating from two-year colleges to four-year universities.

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At UHD, a whopping 66% of degree-seeking undergraduates began as transfer students. No wonder that the third week of October is especially celebrated at the University: National Transfer Student Week!

Certainly, transitions can be challenging for most people, but National Transfer Student Week provides the platform to highlight the thousands of success stories across the UHD campuses, including this year’s 26 Transfer Merit Scholars.

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