- By James Barragan American-Statesman Staff
The Consulate General of Mexico in Austin and Foundation Communities announced Thursday a college scholarship program for Mexican and Hispanic students in Central Texas.
At a news conference at the consulate, Carlos González Gutiérrez, the consul general of Mexico in Austin, said the program will aim to provide 140 scholarships of $1,000 to such students in Central Texas. Immigrants of other nationalities will also be eligible.
“We are all believers in the power of education — education as a means to overcome poverty, to achieve personal development and national prosperity. The best way to pursue our dreams,” he said. “On behalf of the government of Mexico, I am glad to share with you the launching of the MexAustin scholarship program.”
González Gutiérrez said the Mexican government will provide $70,000 in starting funds and local nonprofit Foundation Communities, which will oversee and facilitate the program, will seek out matching funds.
Mexico’s government will continue providing annual funds in the future. The scholarship will be available to students in the consulate’s jurisdiction.
“Many of the students we serve will be the first in their families to attend college,” said Julian Huerta, deputy executive director of Foundation Communities. “By facilitating this scholarship, we will help provide students with the funds they need to enroll in higher education.”
In the past few decades, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry has been focusing on helping Mexican citizens and their families regardless of whether they live in Mexico.
González Gutiérrez urged the local community to support the scholarship program, which he said was an opportunity to offer students a better life by helping them go to college. He said Latino students lag behind other groups in college attendance and graduation.
“The Latino community in this country needs to be empowered in order to be heard, and for that they have to be better educated,” he said.
González Gutiérrez added that the education of young Latinos is crucial to the future of the United States because they will represent a majority of the country in the future.
“Your general support in this endeavor is, more than anything else, an investment in the future of Texas as a whole,” he said. “I can guarantee you that it will pay off sooner rather than later.”
Foundation Communities is looking for contributions to the program. Applications for the scholarship are expected to go out in January. For more information visit www.mexaustin.com.