The U.S. Army renewed its commitment to working with its longtime partner, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), to provide students with the educational and financial resources needed to pursue and complete their higher education goals. The partnership includes the Army's participation at the 26(th) annual HACU national conference, Oct. 19-22 in Washington, D.C., as well as a continuation of the highly successful U.S. Army - HACU College Tour program.
The Army and HACU share a mutual commitment to preparing Hispanic youth for academic and career success. The partnership allows the Army to work directly with students, teachers and school officials, providing them with information about the educational programs and resources available through the Army, both at the high school and collegiate level.
"Our partnership with HACU ensures educators, families and students are aware of the resources the Army provides to support academics and develop leaders of character," said Col. Erik Peterson, deputy commander, U.S. Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox, Ky. "By sharing information and maintaining dialogue, we hope to encourage more Hispanics to consider our Army as a first choice for beginning a career."
At the HACU national conference, Army representatives will provide a workshop on the free educational resources available through the Army, including the March2Success program. This online resource helps students improve proficiency in math, science, language skills, prepares them for state standardized tests and provides practice exams for college admissions tests. Available in English and in Spanish, March2Success also has information to help parents understand the college admissions process and where to look for financial aid.
Army representatives will also conduct a seminar highlighting the scholarship benefits available for students interested in a career in health care. The Army offers more than 90 areas of concentration across six health care groups including nursing, medical, dental and veterinary corps.
Recent national studies have highlighted the significant gains in Hispanics' high school graduation rates, college admissions rates and the number of Hispanics earning two-year and four-year college degrees. However, the number of Hispanics earning college degrees continues to lag far behind other demographics. Across the country, 51 percent of Hispanic students who enroll in college complete their bachelor's degree within six years, compared to 59 percent of white students.
Given the rapid growth rate of the Hispanic population in the United States, closing this graduation gap is critical to the nation's future.
To better prepare high school students for the challenges of college life, the Army and HACU have developed a program that offers students the chance to visit college campuses - in many cases for the first time - to learn about the resources available to them. Launched in 2009, the Army - HACU College Tour program allows students to experience campus life first-hand, learn about the admissions process and financial aid options, and make more informed decisions about their educational future.
During each week-long college tour, several hundred students from Hispanic-serving school districts participate in seminars to learn how to apply, pay for and stay in college. The program also highlights the financial and leadership development benefits available through the Army ROTC program.
The next college tour will take place the week of Nov. 5 at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas, and tours at other college campuses will be scheduled in 2013.
As the nation's largest provider of college scholarships, the Army is dedicated to closing the education gap and annually grants about $250 million in merit-based ROTC scholarships for students. The Army ROTC program also provides students with world class leadership training and prepares them for success in their chosen career path.
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