Located in Prairie View Texas the university is located near most of the major cities in the state such as: Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Dallas. The university opened its' doors to 8 students on March 11, 1878 named Alta Vista Agricultural College. The name was changed the very next year to Prairie View Normal Institute after the college was nearly shut down due to financial restraints but saved by the Texas Legislature. Prairie View also has the distinction of being an HBU which stands for historically black university. The university also sits on a gorgeous a 1,440 acre campus that truly is the heartbeat of the city of Prairie View. Prairie View A&M is the perfect place for students to receive a higher education offering a variety of undergrad, masters and PhD courses to choose from. Some of the colleges students have an option of choosing from include College of Agriculture and Human Services, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Juvenile Justice and Psychology and College of Nursing. Tuition for the 2008-2009 school year are approximately $8,800 for twelve hours which will include room and board. First time students are required to stay in the University College community on campus equipped with freshman counselors to provide guidance and proper educational resources. Apartment style settings are reserved for upperclassmen and graduate students in University Village which now has three phases. Phase three of community requires its residents to maintain a 3.0 GPA. Students are encouraged to live on campus but some enjoy the freedom and privacy that comes with finding your own apartment off campus. The city of Prairie View has a plethora of options when it comes to apartments surrounding Prairie View A&M University. Students are able to choose an apartment that has the specific amenities that they are looking for. Many students prefer to venture out on their own and find apartment style living while still getting a quality education which makes Prairie View A&M University the best option around.