WHITE PLAINS – Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino congratulated 25 student graduates from the Latino U College Access program Thursday morning.
Latino U College Access works to help first-generation Hispanic students navigate the complex process of applying for state and federal financial aid for college, through helping students and their families overcome language and financial barriers.
“We are a proud partner of Latino U on these vital programs for first-generation Hispanic students,” said Astorino. “With this effort, we are helping students realize the dream of graduating from college. This year’s graduates have a very bright future ahead of them.”
Latino U College Access offers several programs, paired with Spanish-language Community Information Sessions, that support Hispanic students and their families who are preparing to go to college, including:
- Essay Writing Boot Camp, which guides students through the process of writing college essays;
- SAT/ACT preparation classes;
- College Coaching and Mentoring, where volunteers work one-on-one to support students with college planning and the application process; and,
- FAFSA First!, where bilingual volunteers help students complete financial aid applications, such as the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the New York Tuition Assistance Program (NY TAP) application, to help pay for college.
Shirley Acevedo Buontempo, founder of Latino U College Access, said the complexity of the college application process and financial aid often deters many qualified students from applying to college. Hispanic youth, many of whom are first in their family to go to college, have to go through the application process entirely on their own without assistance at home.
“Working with volunteer coaches, students receive the support they need to achieve their dreams,” said Buontempo. “Through our commitment, we are helping the Hispanic youth in Westchester County fulfill their academic potential, attain their college dreams and ensure the success of future generations.”
Since 2015, Westchester County has partnered with Latino U College Access as part of the Westchester County Youth Bureau’s Invest-In-Kids program.