The Latino Initiative received a $20,000 scholarship grant to be dispersed to students of Mexican descent this semester. The money will help many students who may have had to quit school if not for the grant.
The grant comes from Instituto de Mexicanos en el Exterior, or the Institute of Mexicans Abroad (IME). A non-profit organization formed by the Mexican government, IME established the IME-BECAS in order to provide funding for students in foreign countries.
The Mexican government hopes to help these students be a credit to their mother country and a positive influence on the world wherever they are. This much-needed aid can help those of Mexican descent to stay in school rather than give up on an education for financial reasons.
Receiving the grant was an extensive process. It started when Latino Initiative program director Yudi Lewis was nominated to attend a conference in Mexico City for those who worked to further the education of Latin students, especially Mexicans. While there, Lewis was surprised to find the vast array of resources available to Mexican students all over the world.
She soon sent off an application, hoping to be one of the few to be approved. She had to wait through a lengthy screening process. IME sends its money to University of California, Berkeley, which then consults with Mexican officials before determining which institutions would receive part of the funding. Finally, her efforts were rewarded when she received the good news.
Lewis said seeing the grant approved was better than “seeing a million dollars in my own bank account!”
This grant will mean a lot to many of the students on campus.
“We get to help some students who wouldn’t have been able to continue their education,” she said. “And we can start now with spring semester.”
Although pleased, Lewis believes it was a well-deserved award, considering the many students on campus who qualify for the scholarship’s requirements.
“The reason we got this grant is that we showed we have 2,100 Latino students and the vast majority of them are of Mexican descent,” she said.
She also noted that it wasn’t just free money, but a good retention tool. The students who receive the scholarship are required to maintain a 3.0 GPA, meet regularly with academic advisors and tutors, and even meet personally with Lewis four times during the semester.