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Fifteen López Scholars receive comprehensive support for their educational journey at UTSA

Fifteen López Scholars receive comprehensive support for their educational journey at UTSA

Spotlight on UTSA's mission to make higher education accessible to every student who dreams of a college degree

AUGUST 30, 2023 — Beginning this fall, 15 incoming first-year students will attend UTSA with all of their educational expenses paid through a generous gift from the Hector and Gloria López Foundation (HGLF), which is dedicated to improving access to a college degree among Latino students.

This investment is informed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board 60x30TX 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.

In 2021, only 131,915 Latinos completed a degree or certificate and fewer than half of degrees awarded were bachelor’s degrees. 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.

“As a López Scholar, you’re not just a student—you are a part of a vibrant community dedicated to your success.”

The $2.4 million grant, announced in March, is intended to provide scholarships and support to students who identify as Latino, first-generation, and low-income, and who are from Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, South Texas, and the Rio Grande Valley. The López Scholars at UTSA are:

  • Belinda Alonso-Coronado, from Kyle
  • Christina Estrada, San Antonio
  • Jahsiah Gonzales, San Antonio
  • Joann Gonzalez, Floresville
  • Emmanuel Ibarra, Combes
  • Kyler Ledford, Iraan
  • Daniel Lopez, San Antonio
  • Audri Machado, Poteet
  • Rachelle Mendez, San Benito
  • Ashley Morales, Donna
  • Jalynn Mugica, Round Rock
  • Stephanie Munoz, Round Rock
  • Anthony Murrugarra, San Antonio
  • Anahi Reyes-Guerrero, San Antonio
  • Melany Vital, San Antonio

UTSA Vice Provost for Student Success Tammy Wyatt addressed the students at a special orientation for the scholars and their families earlier this month.

“This is an exciting chapter in your lives—one that holds promise of boundless opportunities and intellectual growth and I can assure you it will be a transformative experience,” she said. “You’re not just entering college. You’re beginning a journey that will be financially supported, nurtured and enriched in every possible way. As a López Scholar, you’re not just a student—you are a part of a vibrant community dedicated to your success.”

The award recipients were not required to submit a separate application or meet a minimum GPA or SAT/ACT score. The 15 López Scholars instead were selected randomly from a pool of about 2,500 students admitted to UTSA who met the foundation’s demographic requirements. The award will support all education-related costs for the students. In addition to covering tuition and fees, the foundation’s gift will cover the cost of housing, health insurance, study abroad opportunities, transportation to see family, child care, legal services and more.

Additionally, the scholars will benefit from multiple services to aid their academic success, including one-on-one, personalized tutoring, academic mentoring and coaching, peer mentoring with a College Reading & Learning Association (CLRA) certified peer educator, group study sessions, mental health and well-being services, and career counselling.

“When I got the call about this scholarship, I honestly couldn’t believe it…I was in shock,” said López Scholar Melany Vital, who intends to major in music. “It means a lot to be able to pursue what I want in college. This scholarship is giving me the opportunity to do whatever I want without having to worry about money. It’s a really great opportunity.

Vital’s father, Hugo Vital, shared his daughter’s appreciation and excitement.

“It’s an opportunity for Melany to pursue what she wants to do in life and not have to worry about graduating with debt,” he said. “It’s a moment of joy for our family and we’ll do everything we can to support her so she can continue her educational studies and pursue her dreams.”

To remain eligible for the grant, the scholars must be enrolled full-time at UTSA and maintain a 2.0 GPA. López Scholars also commit to attending mentoring and academic coaching meetings, student success workshops and social events.

⇒ Learn more about the López Scholars at UTSA
 Explore the many UTSA programs and services that support student success.

Founded in 2021, the Hector and Gloria López Foundation works to give Latino students the resources and tools they need to overcome personal and systemic obstacles to both access and obtain a college degree, and catalyze economic success that will last a lifetime.

“The Hector and Gloria López Foundation believes in the capability of every Latino and Latina student and this scholarship is an investment in their future,” said Nikki Graham Spector, director of philanthropy for HGLF. “We are extremely excited for the UTSA cohort of López Scholars to carry forth the legacy of Hector and Gloria López and we can’t wait to see all that they accomplish over the next year and years to come.”

UTSA is one of seven Texas institutions with López Scholars.

Matthew Boerger

UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
the official news source
of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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University of Texas at San Antonio receives ‘transformational’ $40M gift

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