Airline helps students travel home



By Pablo Villasenor, CONTRIBUTOR

The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and Southwest Airlines have partnered on the “¡Lánzate!/Take Off!” Higher Education Travel Award Program geared toward supporting Hispanic college students with economic needs that are enrolled at institutions away from their hometown.
This program offers students an opportunity to apply for travel awards to stay connected with their families. Students selected have an opportunity to visit family during the academic year.
A selection committee consisting of national education advocates and community leaders select the award recipients.
The awardees are selected from students across the nation who submitted essays detailing the challenges they face achieving their goal to pursue higher education.
There is no released maximum of recipients for this award but as of now there is a minimum of 125 held by the association, says HACU spokesperson Norma Garcia.
“I’m homesick and I came here to pursue higher education. For me and for my family. It’s been pretty difficult because I miss my family obviously, but I’m glad something like this exists because the majority of people far from home miss their family but cannot afford to go see them,” said Erick Vasquez, Southern California native and California State University, East Bay student.
Fifteen years ago, HACU and Southwest Airlines formed a strategic partnership to provide roundtrip travel to undergraduate and graduate students with socio-economic needs across the country who travel away from home to pursue higher education. The partnership with Southwest Airlines supports HACU’s mission to champion Hispanic success in higher education.
“In its 15 year history, the ¡Lánzate! Program has made a difference by providing travel awards for students to visit their families. We are grateful to Southwest Airlines for championing Hispanic success in higher education and look forward to a continued partnership,” HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores said.