Victoria is very fortunate to have  two institutions of higher learning within our city limits. Victoria College and the University of Houston-Victoria serve to educate not only long time citizens of Victoria, but students moving to Victoria to further their education at our high quality schools as well. But, just like everything else, the cost of higher education is rising.

Tuition at the University of Houston-Victoria will increase about $57 per semester next year, according to the Victoria Advocate. The UH System Board of Regents voted Tuesday on the 1.9 percent increase, based on a 15-hour course load for in-state undergraduate students. Twenty percent of the increase, which was driven by increased enrollment, will be set aside for scholarships and financial aid. It will be used to expand instruction and increase student support services for the growing number of students.

Despite the increase, tuition at UHV will remain well below the state average. UHV and UHD are the system's most affordable universities. The administration requested more resources to increase student success initiatives and support services that enhance graduation rates, including mentoring, tutoring and advising support.

UHV also announced this month that beginning in the fall, freshmen and sophomores whose families have an annual income of $50,000 or less can expect to have all of their tuition and fees covered by federal, state and/or university aid. Those whose families have annual incomes from $50,001 to $90,000, will have 50 percent of their tuition and fees covered, and those with family incomes of more than $90,000 will receive up to a $1,000 UHV scholarship.

Graduate school tuition rates may increase for UH System students, depending on the university and the degree being pursued. Tuition will not be increased on any doctoral programs.

The rates below reflect the approved 2012-2013 tuition rates for UHS students taking 15 credit hours:

University of Houston - $4,844

UH-Clear Lake - $3,222

UH-Downtown - $2,992

UH-Victoria - $2,971