Our neighbors south of the border are starting a fundraising campaign to support Mexican and Mexican-American college students in the United States.
The Mexican Consulate in San Diego launched the three month IME BECAS campaign called "For a Better Life."
Until October 31, it allows the public to donate $5 or $10 through text messages to support university students and adults to continue their education.
Every year the Mexican government provides 10 million pesos to place in the fund. The fundraising campaign works with two non-profit organizations in the United States: Mobile Giving Foundation and Hispanic Scholastic Funds Consortium.
The Consul General of Mexico in San Diego Remedios Gomez Arnau said it’s important to note that the Mexican government will not receive the donations and will not manage the funds received. The two non-profit organizations will receive, collect and deliver the money to students.
The 50 Mexican consulates in the United States are promoting the nationwide campaign. Gomez Arnau said every consulate will create local committees identifying and choosing the educational institutions that will be receiving the funds.
Last year, 14 institutions of higher learning in San Diego participated.
Enriching Mexicans and Mexican-Americans to be more educated will create a better-trained workforce, Gomez Arnau said.
“The goal with this new fundraising is to enlarge the number of students that will be benefited through the educational institutions that will be receiving the funds,” she said.
Since 2005, the program has helped about 30,000 Mexican students in the United States. More than $300,000 have gone to more than 1,000 students in San Diego.
Freddy Delgado-Wong, Academic Coordinator for Student Support Services at the University of San Diego, said the funds they receive from this program allow them to support the Latino community.
“Our program has been lucky enough to get these funds for our students and in many cases this beca (scholarship) has allowed our students to continue their education at USD,” he said. “In some of those cases without this beca, our students would have had to drop out of the university.”
Juan Barragan, a student from the University of San Diego, said without this scholarship it would have been almost impossible to go to college. Especially since it would cost him almost $60,000 annually.
He said the money has helped him take classes specializing in Mexico.
"Having been a recipient of this scholarship has enabled me to take classes at the University of San Diego which specialize in learning about the history of Mexico, learning about the politics of Mexico, learning about my roots, my history back in my home country," Barragan said.
He said his family moved to the United States to give him a better education and feels grateful that his home country of Mexico is taking an interest in educating students who are abroad.
Yolanda Torres with Access Customer Service Center, which provides English and computer classes to residents, said most of their students are low income and the scholarship allows them to better themselves.
“Most of our students come from Mexico, they come with basic education so unfortunately they were not able to finish their education in Mexico so here thanks to the IME scholarship they are able to continue higher education,” she said.
Guadalupe Corona, director of Alliant University's Latino Achievement Initiatives, said the one reason why people do not go to college is because of lack of money.
“Money should not be the reason why we do not invest in our futures’ talent and the next generation of Latino professionals who can build the California economy,” she said.