ASU honored for service to Hispanic students and families

Helping more Hispanic students attend and graduate from college has long been a commitment of Arizona State University. On April 13, that commitment was recognized by the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, which presented ASU with its prestigious “Education Partner of the Year” award for 2023.

The Hispanic Scholarship Fund, an organization that assists Hispanic students with information, resources and scholarships to navigate and complete college, has been a crucial means of support for Hispanic families for nearly 50 years. The nonprofit has awarded more than $675 million in scholarships and held countless college preparation events. As a partner of HSF since 2015, ASU has hosted several HSF programs, most notably College Camp, a free, bilingual event for sixth through 12th graders and their families to help them prepare, plan and pay for a college education.

“We always want to work with partners who share in our belief that supporting student success is paramount,” says Vanessa Ruiz, deputy vice president of ASU’s Educational Outreach and Student Services. “That’s why partnering with HSF makes complete sense for us.” 

Undergraduate Hispanic student enrollment has grown substantially at ASU over the past six years, increasing 29% from 11,895 students in fall 2016 to 15,385 students in fall 2022. Hispanic students now make up 25.7% of full-time undergraduates on campus. Meanwhile, Hispanic faculty at ASU grew by 70.2% from 2007 to 2021 and doubled for Hispanic female faculty members during that time period. 

Each year the Hispanic Scholarship Fund selects 10,000 students nationwide as HSF Scholars. Students receive services including mentorship, career support and leadership development. These students are also eligible to receive a scholarship ranging from $500 to $5,000. ASU is home to 225 HSF Scholars. 

ASU Executive Vice President and University Provost Nancy Gonzales says family support and encouragement is a top factor in whether a Hispanic student will earn a college degree. And those families, while supporting their students, also need to be supported.

“Many families — especially those for whom college-going is new — can find it challenging to understand and navigate the admission process and college experience,” Gonzales said.

“Without significant guidance from universities and community organizations, many students and families assume college is not for them. The Hispanic Scholarship Fund provides critical support for such families, and we are proud to partner with them. It’s an honor to be named the 'Education Partner of the Year' and a reflection of the commitment of many faculty and staff who lead ASU programs that support Hispanic students and families.” 

ASU was also recognized for serving Hispanic students and families last year when it was designated a Hispanic-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The achievement noted the university’s efforts to serve Hispanic students through financial and academic support programs, strengthening the academic pipeline for Hispanic students and providing resources for the community. Additionally in 2022, ASU earned its second Seal of Excelencia certification from the Washington, D.C.-based organization Excelencia in Education for its continuing support of Latino students.

“Two Seals of Excelencia, being named a Hispanic-Serving Institution and now the HSF Education Partner of the Year are all significant honors. But nothing compares to helping a family realize that college is attainable for their student when they never thought it possible,” says Melissa Pizzo, associate vice president for ASU Financial Aid and Scholarship Services. 

For more information about this award, watch ASU’s “Education Partner of the Year” award acceptance video from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s “Leaders in Education” awards dinner on April 13.

Top photo: Vanessa Ruiz, deputy vice president of ASU’s Educational Outreach and Student Services, holds the “Education Partner of the Year” award from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund with the organization's president and CEO, Fidel A. Vargas, on April 13 in Los Angeles. Photo courtesy of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund