The University of Texas-Pan American has been awarded $245,000 by the South Texas/Hispanic Scholarship Fund - the most funding provided to any U.S. university by the program and more than a third of the $715,000 total allocated to the South Texas region.
The award was distributed among 131 students at UT Pan American. Awards range from $500 to $1,750 and are applicable for tuition, fees and books.
To qualify for the South Texas/Hispanic Scholarship Fund, a student must live in one of 19 South Texas counties - including Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy - be at least half Hispanic, a full-time student at an accredited U.S. college, and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. A student also must have completed at least 15 hours and have at least a 2.5 grade point average
Second-year recipient Maria Martinez, an Edinburg senior mathematics major, has primarily used the South Texas/Hispanic Scholarship Fund for school supplies and textbooks. She received $1,500 last year, followed by $1,750 this year.
"It's been very helpful and allowed me to avoid taking out a loan," said Martinez, adding she will re-apply next year. "It's definitely something students should look at because you have a good chance of getting money."
Meanwhile, junior psychology major Carlo Gonzalez of La Joya is using the $1,750 he received for tuition and books during the regular semesters and summer sessions.
"This has been extremely useful to me because I commute every day from La Joya, and it allowed me to save money to help cover transportation costs," he said. "It's also great they are helping out and promoting Hispanics through this scholarship program."
Gonzalez, a first-time recipient of the South Texas/Hispanic Scholarship Fund, said the award opened up other scholarship opportunities for him, and he is eager to re-apply for a scholarship next year.
"I think it opens a lot of doors for Hispanics because those who have the initiative to apply will use the funds to graduate," Gonzalez said.
"I'd encourage other students to apply because it will look good on their resume, but they need to get their application materials ready because the deadlines are really important."
Since 1975, UTPA students have been awarded $500,000 in Hispanic Scholarship Fund scholarships, said Kristen Reza, Hispanic Scholarship Fund development officer. The University ranks 11th out of 25 top colleges and universities nationwide in receiving funds and is fourth in Texas behind Texas A&M, UT Austin and UT El Paso.
In fact, the amount awarded to UTPA from the South Texas/ Hispanic Scholarship Fund has approximately doubled every year since 1995-96. That year, 26 students were awarded $26,000.
In 1996-97, 56 UTPA students received $78,018, a one-year increase of 300 percent in funding and 215 percent in recipients. A year later, 113 UTPA students received $115,872, an increase of 48.5 percent in funding and 202 percent in recipients.
Last year, $187,000 was provided to 127 UTPA students. The award represented an increase of 61.4 percent in funding and 12.4 percent in total recipients from 1997-98.
"The reason that UTPA has been so successful in increasing the number of scholarship recipients over the years is due to the efforts we have taken to make the Hispanic Scholarship Fund as accessible as possible," said Michelle Alvarado, director of Student Financial Services.
"We print out 5,000 scholarship applications for students, conduct application workshops, put up banners and posters across the campus and do mailouts."
This year, 40 universities were allocated $715,000 for 420 total scholarships in the South Texas/Hispanic Scholarship Fund. South Texas Community College in McAllen was third in funds awarded at $83,750 for 83 students, and UT Brownsville was awarded $41,500 for 22 students.
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is the largest Hispanic scholarship-granting organization in the United States. Founded in 1975, it has awarded more than 40,000 scholarships totaling nearly $47 million.
Scholarship sponsors include: CoSTEP, H.E.B., Coastal Maverick, Anheuser-Busch, L&F Distributors, The Monitor, International Bank of Commerce, Albertson's; Diamond: Burton McCumber Cortez, Noticias 48, Wal-Mart; Emerald: Bank of America, Coats Energy Trust and Frank Enriquez, Merrill Lynch, Diamond Shamrock, Texas Insurance Managers representing CAN and other companies.
Also, Al Cardenas Masonry/Aida Salinas Flores, Continental Airlines, Duke Energy, First National Bank, International Bank, McAllen Medical/Edinburg Regional Medical Center, Spikes Ford, Texas State Bank, Williamson Construction, Sol, Holiday Wine and Liquor.
Other sponsors are Argus Security; Atlas and Hall; Blockbuster/ Gutierrez Family Trust; Boggus Ford; Broadway Hardware/McAllen Bolt and Screw; Central Power and Light Co.; Chase Bank; Cornerstone Fitness Center/Cornerstone Regional Hospital; El Globo; Flores, Casso and Pettitt, L..L.P.; Fred's Pharmacy; Grande River Communications, Inc.; Household Beneficial Financial; Hygeia; Jaime A. Gonzalez Jr.; John David Franz; Johnny Carino's; Judge Edward G. Aparicio; Kittleman, Thomas, Ramirez, Gonzalez Law Firm; L&G Concrete; Laredo National Bank; Law Office of Aaron Pena; Law Office of Ramon Garcia; Lee's Pharmacy; Linebarger, Heard, Goggan, Blair, Graham, Pena and Sampson, L.L.P.; McAllen National Bank; Melhart's Music Center; Nueces Power Equipment; Paul Elizondo/Ray Ibanez; Power Equipment International; Pueblo Tires; Republic Royalty and Frank Enriquez; Rio Grande Law Center; Valley Baptist Medical Center; Rio Radio; Rio Grande Regional Hospital; and The Pena Law Firm.
Media sponsors included Fantich Media Group, The Brownsville Herald, Valley Morning Star, KVEO-23, KTLM-Telemundo, KGBT-4, KRGV-5, Fox, KGBT/KIWW, KBFM/KTEX, KURV/KSOX, Sendero Multimedia, Sunburst Media and Lamar Advertising.
For more information on the South Texas/Hispanic Scholarship Fund, contact the UTPA Scholarship Department in the Student Financial Services office at 956/381-2935. Applications for the 2000-2001 academic year will be available Aug. 3. The deadline to apply is Sept. 15.
For more information on sponsorships, contact Val Lamantia Peisen of L&F Distributors at 956/687-7751.