HOUSTON, Austin,
12:54 PM

Seven UST Rising Star Students Participate in Advocacy Day at State Capitol

The Student Capitol steps photo from left to right is:  TOP ROW: Christian Gonzalez, Sheila Maldonado, Laura Martinez, Emili Jaime. BOTTOM ROW: Yuliana Pazos, Michael Zimako, Daniel Fuentes.  University of St. Thomas-Houston students visited the Texas Capitol for legislative meetings on March 22. Led by University President Dr. Richard Ludwick and Chief Legal Counsel Gita Bolt, and in partnership with the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas (ICUT), this successful day of meetings helped highlight the impact of state grants for Texas students attending private universities. 

UST "Advocacy Day" presents an opportunity to show the University’s support and gratitude to legislators for the Tuition Equalization Grant (TEG) program in Texas. This student grant provides crucial funding to lower-income Texas students, which allows them to attend private, non-profit colleges and universities in the Lone Star State. The TEG acts as a cost equalizer for students attending private schools instead of state-funded public universities and helps lessen their dependence on burdensome student loans.

More than 24% of UST students received this TEG funding in the 2021-2022 academic year totaling $2.6 million in state financial aid. The seven student ambassadors who participated in UST Advocacy Day are all members of the Rising Star Internship Program and receive TEG funds as part of their financial aid package. During each legislative meeting, St. Thomas students shared their personal stories explaining how these critical funds made it possible for them to attend a private, four-year university. Several students ultimately decided to attend UST based on the financial assistance provided through federal, state, and philanthropic support and UST's unique, intimate campus community.

Meetings with officials ranged from members of the Houston delegation in the Texas House of Representatives to the Chair of the Senate Education Committee and our very own campus representatives, including those from our Conroe micro-campus.

From left to right: UST student Yuliana Pazos, Senator John Whitmire, Gita Bolt and Dr. Richard LudwickUST's main campus is uniquely positioned between two state house districts after the 2022 redistricting. The line between House District 134 and 147 follows Montrose Boulevard before diverting down Sul Ross Street to capture our academic mall and residence halls in District 147, leaving Link Lee and the Chapel of St. Basil in District 134. Both Representative Jolanda Jones (HD 147) and Representative Ann Johnson (HD 134) are kind enough to accept our main campus as their own, as well as Senator John Whitmire. "Our campus is in your district" carries weight in several offices!

For any questions on UST Advocacy Day and other ways to help advocate for UST in your communities, don't hesitate to contact Caroline Payne at paynece@stthom.edu.