Guest Voz: Latino educators implore Hispanic Scholarship Fund to stop discriminating

LatinaLista — Jose Lara is the co-chair of the Association of Raza Educators, a group of Hispanic scholars who adhere to a teaching philosophy of creating not just students who excel in academics in the classroom but who are also socially conscious and can act to make a positive difference in their communities.

Jose Lara
Mr. Lara and members of his organization try to help the neediest Hispanic students achieve their academic dreams by fundraising for college scholarships. The ARE has identified the neediest Latino students as those who are undocumented, thus not eligible for federal aid.
While undocumented students cannot receive federal scholarships, they can receive private scholarships. Yet, the premier financial aid organization for Latino students, the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, refuses to award undocumented students with any type of college scholarship.
Mr. Lara explains to Latina Lista why he and ARE are working to change that policy.

The Association of Raza Educators (ARE) ramped up its national campaign demanding the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) stop discriminating against undocumented students with a protest outside HSF headquarters in San Francisco on Thursday November 20th 2008. HSF has repeatedly emphasized that it “will not knowingly grant scholarships to individuals without legal status.”
There are an estimated 65,000 undocumented students who graduate from U.S. high schools each year. As a private organization, HSF is one of the few sources of financial aid undocumented students can turn to since they do not qualify for state or federal aid. Last year alone, HSF gave out over $26 million in scholarships, with none of that financial support going to undocumented students.
The Association of Raza Educators sent various letters imploring HSF to allow undocumented students an opportunity to apply, but HSF continues to refuse.

The fact is that undocumented students face tremendous hardships that U.S. citizens do not; moreover, even though HSF does a wonderful job supporting Hispanic students, its open and blatant disregard for the neediest in our community is deplorable.
In its defense, HSF responded to some of ARE claims by stating that they do not have the power to change national law and that they will not jeopardize losing corporate funding in order to allow undocumented students apply.
While HSF does not have the power to change federal law, it is well within its power and it is fully lawful to allow undocumented students to apply for their scholarship. As a Hispanic organization, HSF must not discriminate and include all Hispanics, not just those who are citizens, in spite of unjust immigration laws.
Only then will HSF reach its goal in assisting Hispanic Students reach their educational goals.
So far, more than twenty community-based organizations have endorsed this effort, with over 2,000 people signing the online petition.
Videos have also been produced by ARE calling on HSF board members Cheech Marin and Univision anchor Maria Elena Salinas (whose father was undocumented) to help promote this needed change in the organization’s policy.
All students deserve the right to be educated and have their voices heard — regardless of their citizenship status.

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15 Comments

  1. Irma said:

    I received HSF funding all through graduate school. It payed the rent -
    some times and allowed me to finish on time without having to get a part time job, I was never asked to document my immigration status.
    I did have to prove that I was enrolled
    in school, why isnt that enough?

  2. EYES OF TEXAS said:

    I’m going to apply for a scholarship to one of the major universities of higher learning in Mexico. What are the chances I will not be accepted since I am not a citizen of Mexico? You still fail to understand that in the U.S. citizens come first. We, as a nation, can no longer support, educate, and give medical care to those that come here only to reap the benefits.

  3. laura said:

    Why do Latina/os coddle those of their “leaders” who are happy to stab their community in the back? How do the top-level employees of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) continue to draw a salary when they discriminate against young undocumented Latina/os? Why are they permitted to let the talents of potential future cancer researchers, engineers, novelists, nurses and computer programmers go to waste – because of the young people’s visa status?
    These people at Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) do not deserve their salaries.
    Just like my long-standing opinion is that Janet Murguia of National Council of La Raza, who appeared multiple times on anti-immigrant TV shows, needs to be fired.
    There will always be brown-nosers – people who want to ingratiate themselves with the most powerful, at the expense of their own community. But a community that gives leadership positions to brown-nosers can not advance.

  4. Irma said:

    EOT
    The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is a private fund. They should be able to give their
    money to anyone they choose.

  5. Evelyn said:

    I’m going to apply for a scholarship to one of the major universities of higher learning in Mexico. What are the chances I will not be accepted since I am not a citizen of Mexico? You still fail to understand that in the U.S. citizens come first. We, as a nation, can no longer support, educate, and give medical care to those that come here only to reap the benefits.
    You mean like the Europeans did when they invaded America and killed all the indigenous people and stole their land?

  6. Irma said:

    Evelyn,
    Mexico has private and public colleges.
    The public colleges are not for you-
    they were built to educate Mexicans.
    The private ones can admit who they
    want. If they want to spend their money on you , why not?
    In the US, US citizens should come first.
    The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is a private organization. Why is this an
    abstract concept? Private organizations should be able to do what they want. Look at Yale and Harvard, they admitted George W. Bush. Do you really the guy even had submit an application? But, hey
    they can do what they want – they are
    PRIVATE schools.

  7. EYES OF TEXAS said:

    Evelyn, once again you seem to not be able to pull your head out of your past. This is not the same land that existed during a time when conquest was a natural event among many countries worldwide. If you can remain in the present, and envision what the future may bring, you can understand that this nation is on a downhill slide created in a large part by our current illegal invasion. Today there are laws that have to be enforced which was not the case when the Europeans, including Spanish Conquestadors, came here to expand their empires. Get over it.

  8. Irma said:

    EOT, this is a new ERA. Those laws that
    you claim should be enforced, need to be changed.
    Just as the European came and took our land, we will now take it back.

  9. Texano78704 said:

    This is not the same land that existed during a time when conquest was a natural event among many countries worldwide.
    Manifest Destiny is not a natural event.
    Some examples of natural events are: rain, earthquakes, change in the season.
    To borrow a phrase — a mind is a terrible thing to waste. We only hurt ourselves as a nation by denying capable students the opportunity of a higher education.

  10. Sandra said:

    Irma, if the “we” you speak of are the Mestizos of Mexico, their ancestor’s tribes never lived this far north. The indians native to THIS country have all the rights of American citizens, we have treaties with them and they have their sovereign lands.
    Sad, when the Mestizos try to claim the rights to the entire continent. Why aren’t they advancing into Canada then? The full blooded native indians would turn in their graves knowing that their descendants were fighting cowardly with babies instead of bullets (and I am not advocating a war).
    Bring yourself up to the present. The U.S. was fought for and some territories bought and paid for. Lands have exchanged hands throughout history thru wars all over the planet. All of those people of the past including the natives and the Europeans are all dead now!
    Mestizos are also part white European so just claiming their native indian side to make claims on any part of this continent, isn’t going to cut it. Their ancestors came from Europe also!

  11. EYES OF TEXAS said:

    Lots of luck on your “take it back” agenda. These are exactly the type of comments that will empower American citizens against illegal immigration and continue to deny amnesty to illegal aliens. This land is now the United States of America which is the way it will remain forever. Don’t preach reconquista when you know you are not powerful enough to make it happen. If you think Obama is going to play racial politics on behalf of those living in the shadows, you are sadly mistaken.

  12. Irma said:

    Wow, I guess the Indians of the Americas were not nomadic? Yes, many of us
    have some European heritage . How much ? Well probably at least 50% for most
    “mestizos.”. Dont forget the Europeans
    left a long time ago and there almost
    no “pure Indians” left. Translation?
    Most “Mestizos” are more American Indian
    than most officially recognized American
    Indians! As for full blooded American
    Indians, there are few left – the
    Europeans killed most of them in their
    effort to “exchange” lands. The purchase of Manhattan, now that was a a bargain. I suspect the
    ghosts of those American Indians of long ago, would no doubt be cheering us on. They would certainly recognize
    us as being part of their community.
    As for Canada, please it is too cold there.

  13. EYES OF TEXAS said:

    My ancestry is Scotch-Irish, but it does not define who I am. I do not wear a kilt or go out of my way to celebrate St. Patricks Day. Everyone in this country, that is a citizen, should recognize themselves as being Americans first and let go of who their great-great grandparents were. This would be a giant step towards spanning the divide between all the racial groups that is America. Be an American first and stop agonizing over what happened long, long ago and can not be changed.

  14. Sandra said:

    You are absolutely right Eyes of Texas! That is the problem with many Latino immigrants and citizens. They live in the past and will not be Americans first. They wear their ethnicity on their sleeves like a nothing else matters.

  15. LAURA DIAZ said:

    Iam going to apply for a scholarship because I want to integrate my self with the most powerful community.
    The Hispanic Scholarship fund is a private organizacion.they should be able to give money to anyone they choose

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