(April 3, 2013) - The University of Houston System (UHS) and Houston Community College Northwest (HCC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to expand higher education opportunities in the Katy/West Houston area.

Through a partnership that includes using existing facilities at UHS at Cinco Ranch and HCC-Katy, the MOU will result in an increase of academic programs offered by UHS and HCC-Northwest in West Houston. Many of the undergraduate programs currently offered at UHS at Cinco Ranch will be co-located to the HCC-Katy Campus. The partnership will allow students greater access to more instructional support and services, such as academic advising, while developing more seamless pathways for degree completion. HCC will also offer more non-credit professional development programs at HCC-Katy, such as EMT, cosmetology, horticulture and other professional certifications.

"This innovative four-year partnership for our Katy community is an exciting step towards more fully serving the higher education needs for a 21st century workforce. I am thrilled to offer this to our community," said Dr. Zachary Hodges, president HCC Northwest.

The collaboration allows for UHS at Cinco Ranch to expand its professional and graduate-level programs and transition into a UHS graduate/professional education center. A primary focus will be energy and energy-related fields. Beginning in fall 2013, graduate courses in subsea
engineering will be offered at UHS at Cinco Ranch. The University of Houston central campus is currently the only university in the nation that offers this degree program.

"In addition to the subsea program, we are evaluating adding more engineering, geosciences and energy-related professional certificate programs to UHS at Cinco Ranch in the future," said Marshall Schott, associate vice chancellor for planning and administration at UHS. "With
its proximity to Houston's Energy Corridor and the growing demand for more professional-level programs in that area, our goal is to transform UHS at Cinco Ranch into a premier professional and graduate education center."

The MOU provides a framework for a long-term partnership between UHS and HCC in the
service region.