Mexican Consulate Awards Scholarships to San Diego Students

November 9, 2017

By Alexandra Mendoza

A scholarship awarded every year by the Mexican government will benefit over 300 San Diego county students this school year. The program, managed by the Institute for Mexican Citizens Living Abroad (Instituto de Mexicanos en el Exterior, or IME), provides financial support to Mexican children and adults who want to continue their basic, technical, or university education in the United States.

According to data from the Consulate General of Mexico in San Diego, the initiative has provided over $665,000 from its inception in 2005 to date, benefitting close to 1,500 students.

“It is one of the core obligations Mexico has with its people abroad,” said Marcela Celorio, Mexican Consul General in San Diego. “Many (people) have had to migrate due to financial reasons, and have found jobs and contribute to society here; Mexico has also benefitted from the remittances sent back by these migrants to their home towns, and the least we can do is to help these children and adults.”

For the 2017-18 school year, a fund of close to $70,000 will be awarded to at least 318 students at four academic institutions: Southwestern College, MiraCosta College, and to the ACCESS and Barrio Logan College Institute adult schools.

Recipients were chosen by an independent committee based on its assessment of proposals submitted by each of the academic institutions and on reaching the largest number of people possible, explained Enrique Gonzalez, a consultant for the California Association for Bilingual Education and member of the abovementioned committee.

“We want to ensure that the monies reach the places where they’ll have the most impact, and where it will touch the lives of as many people as possible,” said Gonzalez.

The other members of the selection committee were Maria de la Luz Chavez, former director of Educación Migrante; Antonio Barbosa, Vice-President for Community Relations at Wells Fargo; Miguel Vazquez, Executive Director of the California Foundation Fund; and Arnulfo Manriquez, President and CEO of the non-profit MAAC Project.

In these particular times, the initiative aims to help young “Dreamers” that now face uncertainty after the U.S. government announced it would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

MiraCosta College student Sofia Lopez is one such DACA beneficiary who now, like hundreds of thousands of other young people, fears for her future. However, she said she would take advantage of the scholarship she was awarded to continue fighting for her education.

“The support helps me feel that although there are a lot of problems there are people out there who will help you,” said Sofia.
The young woman dreams of getting a degree in Sociology, and stated that she will use the scholarship money to help pay for college, so she can finish her courses and transfer to a four-year university.

This has been the first time that MiraCosta College receives funding from this Mexican-government scholarship, and according to program director Yesenia Balcazar it will benefit DACA-eligible, low-income students.

“The cost of attending school is very high, so this scholarship can help with books, transportation, and other expenses, allowing them to focus on school without the additional financial stress,” Balcazar said.

Until the future of the DACA program – which for five years protected the children of undocumented migrants brought to the U.S. at a very young age – gets worked out, the College will continue to look for means to provide what little peace of mind it can. “[It is important] because it lets them know that there is someone out there who supports them and believes in them, that they can continue moving forward.”

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