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In 2009, the University of Houston received an anonymous $7 million donation to establish a scholarship program to attract high-achieving students seeking a Tier One education. Expanding upon this generous gift, President Renu Khator issued a challenge to the UH community and matched donations from other generous givers to create individual scholarship endowments of a minimum of $50,000.

The Tier One Scholars Program grew out of these endowments. The program recruits and engages high-caliber students who can pursue academic excellence without financial limitations. Each scholarship provides four full years of tuition and two years of on campus living. In addition, students are given stipends to pursue research and to study abroad.

The inaugural class of Tier One Scholars enrolled in the fall of 2010. They represented the best and brightest of that year’s entering freshmen. They had an average SAT score of 1397 and included four valedictorians, three national merit scholars, and twenty-two were in the top 5% of their high-school graduating class. Most were housed in Cougar Village, UH’s premiere living community, and were members of the Honors College, enriching their academic experience.