Grant Benefits Latino First-Generation Students

First Gen Latino

The Hector and Gloria López Foundation (HGLF) announced a $2.4 million grant to provide full tuition assistance for 15 Latino first-generation college students at UTSA, creating pathways to educational attainment and a pipeline to a successful career. The grant underscores UTSA’s critical role as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) in the San Antonio community and South Texas that is educating and building a skilled workforce.

Beginning in the fall of 2023 and for the next five years, López Scholars will receive support for tuition and fees, as well as other resources including mentorship, tutoring, housing, study abroad programs, paid internships, leadership development and more.

This investment is informed by The Texas 60x30 Higher Education Plan, which calls for 60% of working-age Texans to receive a degree, certificate or other postsecondary credential of value by 2030. To reach this goal, at least 285,000 Latino students must complete a degree or certificate each year.

“This grant will directly impact our students who are gaining the skills needed to build a talent pipeline that will grow the workforce for our city, region and state.” — UTSA President Taylor Eighmy

In 2021, only 131,915 Latinos completed a degree or certificate and fewer than half of degrees awarded were bachelor’s degree. To help close this gap, the Hector and Gloria López Foundation partners with colleges that are student-ready and dedicated to supporting Latino students in their dream to obtain a four-year degree.

“It’s important that young Latinos see a clear path to success, and UTSA is a key contributor to making Latino dreams a reality,” said Sergio Rodríguez, Foundation CEO and nephew of Hector and Gloria López. “The University of Texas at San Antonio is an ideal recipient of the López Foundation grant for its infrastructure to serve first-generation and low-income students, its programs to increase Latino representation, and because it resides in a city with a majority Latino population.”

When UTSA was established in 1969, San Antonio’s Mexican-American community activists, business leaders and political champions sought to address the high demand for local, high-quality educational opportunities through a community-centered university. Throughout its history, UTSA has kept its promise to provide avenues for educational advancement, professional growth and prosperity for Latinos. This grant recognizes UTSA’s role as a next generation Hispanic-thriving, research institution where students from all backgrounds can excel.

“I am immensely grateful for the generosity of the Hector and Gloria López Foundation and their support of our vision to become a national model for student success, empowering all students—regardless of their background— to succeed,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “This grant will directly impact our students who are gaining the skills needed to build a talent pipeline that will grow the workforce for our city, region and state.”

UTSA Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy added, “We are so grateful for the support from the Hector and Gloria López Foundation and are proud to share their commitment to enabling access for Latino students to an R1 quality educational experience to advance their career goals. Together we can build a stronger workforce and community by ensuring that talented Latino scholars have the opportunity to gain marketable skills through learning-by-doing experiences that prepare them to deftly navigate and lead in the workplace.”

UTSA received Excelencia in Education’s Seal of Excelencia in 2020, and President Eighmy serves on the Executive Committee of the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities. Through this new partnership, the López Scholars grant will bolster UTSA’s mission to elevate educational attainment for Latino students in the San Antonio area.

“Students from all backgrounds belong in academia and high-paying career fields,” Eighmy said. “UTSA’s membership in the Alliance affirms our commitment to creating even more opportunities for students from historically underserved communities.” 

UTSA Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Engagement Karl Miller-Lugo added, “This grant serves as an affirmation of our critical role in advancing Latino success across the state of Texas and beyond. More importantly, the Hector and Gloria López Foundation will change the lives of 15 deserving Latino students at UTSA by alleviating the financial barriers commonly faced by college students across the country. Full-ride scholarships like this open many doors of opportunity by allowing our talented students to focus on their studies and research. UTSA is grateful to the Foundation for believing in our students and our university’s commitment to Latino student success.”

Hector and Gloria López left their estate to the Foundation — now Austin-based — in 2021. Their legacy is eminent in the Foundation’s commitment to helping remove traditional barriers to resources and supporting the academic success of first-generation Latino college students in need of financial assistance across Texas.

Scholarship candidates do not have to submit an application or meet a minimum GPA or SAT/ACT score. To become a López Scholar, applicants must be Latino, demonstrate a financial need, be the first in their family to attend college and have lived in or graduated from a high school in one of the five focus areas: El Paso, Austin, San Antonio, and communities in South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley.

“The fact that they are admitted is enough for us,” Rodríguez said. “We don’t need to put up another barrier in order to provide support.”