When I was growing up, there was never any question about whether or not I would attend college. My mother talked about it in everyday conversations.
"When you go to college..."
"Work hard so you can pick the college you want..."
"While you are in college..."
"You should think about that after college..."
So in my mind, it was always a part of my future. It was a goal toward which I was working. I was excited about it. I knew that it was the path to fulfilling the plans I had for my future. And once I was actually in college, my whole life changed (but that's another story).
But not every Latino family has that opportunity. And for too many Latino families, the expense is what causes them to not even consider college as an option for their children. Some have no idea that there are tools available to help them financially afford to send their children to college. They don't know about student loans, work-study program, or scholarships that are available specifically for Latino students.
Even more important is that too many Hispanic families don't realize that a college degree can be their ticket out of poverty. Because people with a college degree are more likely to make $1,000,000 dollars more in their lifetime than those who don't graduate from college.
Taking this cue from my own mother (and childhood), I've been talking about college with my own kids for years. Even though the are only in 4th and 6th grade now, I can see the impact when my daughter asks me questions about which colleges have the best bioengineering programs, or when they ask me questions on what it was like when I went to college. I love it best when I hear them say things like, "After I get out of college, I'm going to..."
If we talk about our kids going to college starting when they are small, then it becomes a part of their future - they take it for granted that they'll be going to college and will work toward that goal. And as they get closer to it, they'll actively look for other resources to help them with the financial side of things.
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is one of the companies that is making it possible for Hispanic students to attend community colleges or large universities. For the last 40 years, they've provided merit-based scholarships to undergrads and graduate students ranging from $500 - $5,000. This type of funding helps pay for tuition costs, living expenses, books, etc.
Students and parents can visit the The Hispanic Scholarship Fund website to find the latest information and to apply for scholarships. You'll also find the HSFinder, an online tool to share and find great information about scholarships, financial aid, careers, internships and more. They even have resources for DREAMers.
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is supported by many companies across the country, including Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. who is now an official partner. All these companies are showing their support of Hispanic students by financially backing the Hispanic Scholarship Fund so that it can make so many scholarships available.
Please share this with any family and friends who have teenage children that are thinking about going to college! This program could make the difference in whether or not they apply and/or attend.
Here are some important dates for you to remember:
- Scholarship Application opens: January 1
- Recommender Portal opens: January 15
- Recommender Online Form due: March 30
- Scholarship Application closes: March 30
- Notification for Scholarships: June- July
- Scholar/Waitlist Documents due: August- October
- Scholarship Awards disbursed (pending receipt of all required documents): November-December
And if you are the parent of a college-bound teen, check out all of my posts with resources for you here.