The gift will provide financial assistance to help López Scholars graduate debt-free

The Hector and Gloria López Foundation today announced it has awarded St. Mary’s University a grant of more than $2.5 million to help more Texas students graduate debt-free with the resources, leadership skills and support needed to achieve lasting economic success.

In addition to receiving tuition assistance, López Scholars will receive funding for a range of expenses associated with higher education, including housing, paid internships, study abroad programs and leadership development, according to the Foundation. This support also covers costs that may hinder student success, such as purchasing a laptop, getting health insurance, paying for child care and tutoring. Funding will also be allocated toward University staff to support the López Scholars on their journey to degree completion. 

honors the legacy of Hector and Gloria López, married business partners and prominent community figures from South Texas who viewed their higher educational opportunities as the basis for their economic prosperity. St. Mary’s was among three local universities that received funding from the Foundation.

“St. Mary’s University is incredibly grateful to receive the grant of more than $2.5 million through the legacy of Mr. and Mrs. López,” said St. Mary’s University President Thomas M. Mengler, J.D. “It’s a joyous day because we know there will be young men and women who will have the opportunity to graduate debt-free from St. Mary’s. I’m so grateful that the Foundation chose St. Mary’s among the universities it is supporting this year to provide this avenue for success to our students.”

The López Scholar grants have the dual objective to put Latino students on an educational path to economic prosperity and to meet the job demands of the growing Texas economy and population. Four in 10 workers in Texas’ labor force will be Latino by 2031, according to Texas Demographic Center projections. At the same time, three in 10 Texas jobs will require a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce. However, recent U.S. Census estimates show that only 18% of Latinos had a bachelor’s or more advanced degree, requiring at least one and a half times more Latinos to earn a bachelor’s or graduate degree focusing on high-demand fields like health care, business and finance, computer and mathematical science and education to meet workforce demand in the coming years.

López Scholars study a range of majors and disciplines and may be first-year students or transfer students from other colleges or universities. There is no application to be a López Scholar; instead, students are selected randomly by grantee universities among admitted students. Students must demonstrate financial need, be the first in their family to attend college, be Latino and live in or graduate 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. 

“We believe that when possible, students should have the opportunity to pursue higher education without financial burden,” said Sergio Rodríguez, Foundation President and CEO and nephew of Hector and Gloria López. “We are excited to invest in students at San Antonio universities that are committed to addressing the unique needs of first-generation students, with comprehensive support for these students’ success both during their college years and after graduation.”

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