The Hector and Gloria López Foundation on March 20 announced a $2.4 million grant to provide full tuition assistance for 15 Latino first-generation college students at The University of Texas at San Antonio.

According to a news release, the grant underscores UTSA’s role as a Hispanic Serving Institution in San Antonio and South Texas that is helping to educate and build a skilled workforce.

UTSA officials said, starting this fall 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.

Representatives with the López Foundation and UTSA said the investment is based upon the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s 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, according to the plan.

Foundation officials said, 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 López Foundation partners with colleges that are student-ready and dedicated to supporting Latino students in their dream to obtain a four-year degree, foundation officials said.

Foundation CEO Sergio Rodríguez said it is vital that young Latinos see a clear path to success, and UTSA is a key contributor to making Latino dreams a reality.

“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,” foundation CEO Sergio Rodríguez said in a statement.

UTSA President Taylor Eighmy expressed gratitude over the grant, which he said will help UTSA further empower students.

“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,” Eighmy said in a statement.

Kimberly Andrews Espy, UTSA provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, echoed Eighmy’s sentiments.

“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,” Espy said in a statement.

According to a news release, 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.