The deadline for filling out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is fast approaching, and every, fewer and fewer students apply for financial aid.
Millions of dollars are still on the table and tens of thousands of Pell grants have gone unclaimed in the state of California. The LA Times reports that the number of students who have applied for financial aid to college under the California Dream Act has seen a significant decline. Politicians and financial aid officials believe the stark decrease in DREAMers applying for financial aid is tied to the increased presence of immigration enforcement officials. The rhetoric coming from President Donald Trump and his hardline stance on immigration isn’t helping the decrease in applicants, Lupita Cortez Alcalá, executive director of the California Student Aid Commission told LA Times.
“I believe that students are not filing because they’re afraid to file,” Cortez Alcalá told the LA Times.
According to Pew Research Center, Latino enrollment in college has increased steadily since 2000 while high school dropout rates have declined dramatically.
As Latinos, making it through higher education is never easy. For some, there is the stress of being the first in our families to attend college or just being able to afford school in general. That’s why it’s special every time we hear about a fellow Latino’s success in the classroom.
This applies to Amado Candelario, a Harvard freshman, who is proof of overcoming barriers and following your college dreams. The world was first introduced to him last December when he shared a “reaction video” on his YouTube channel showing the exact moment he found out he was accepted into Harvard. The emotional video quickly went viral with over 33K views to this date. For Candelario, who was raised by his immigrant mother from Mexico and two sisters in West Lawn, Chicago, Harvard was always his dream.
“There were a lot of tears shed because it’s a big thing for somebody like me, for the community that I come from, to get accepted to a prestigious university like Harvard. For that, I’m grateful,” Candelario told 7NewsBoston after his video went viral.
First, let’s rewatch Amado Candelario finding out he got accepted to Harvard.
Some people sacrifice so much to make sure they get into their dream school. There is nothing more exciting than watching that hard work pay off for someone who deserves it. The world collectively celebrated for Candelario when he found out he was going to be in the new class at Harvard.
Getting into Harvard was one thing but fast forward almost a year later and Candelario is getting well-deserved recognition once again.
For this young man, getting to college was reason enough to celebrate. Candelario came from one of the toughest neighborhoods in Chicago where going to college isn’t always the first choice for many. He sought higher education as a way to escape his circumstances and build a better future for himself and his family. Beyond just getting accepted to Harvard he also needed a way to pay for it. According to the school’s website, the total 2018-2019 cost of attending Harvard University without financial aid is $67,580 for tuition, room, board, and fees combined.
“I needed to figure out how to provide for myself and how I could give back to my mom and to my family that has done so much for me, and college seemed like the way to do that,” he told NBC News. “The only thing people ever talked about when you mentioned was how good it was and how it was the best post-secondary education you could get. I grew up in a lot of poverty and violence and I wanted something better for myself.”
His background and everything he overcame to be where he is has left a lasting impact.
Being one of the few low-income and first-generation students from Chicago in his graduating class has made Candelario a viral star once again. Few in his class to understand the magnitude of his achievement and now the world is taking notice.
“I’m the only kid at Harvard right now, class of 2023, that’s from Chicago and didn’t go to a selective enrollment school, a private school, a predominately affluent suburban school,” Candelario wrote in a tweet that has received more than 87,000 likes as of today. “I’m the only Chicago neighborhood school kid. It’s sad but I DID THAT and I’m proud of myself!!”
Candelario is defying statistics when it comes to Latinos getting into Harvard. He is one of only less than 16 percent of a total of 4.5 percent of accepted applicants that got into Harvard in 2019.
Getting to this point was never easy for him. Candelario attended Eric Solorio Academy High School, which was located on the Southwest Side of Chicago, a notoriously low-income area. It was there that he joined various programs that helped guide him through the college application process and was assisted with financial aid assistance.
The transition to college hasn’t been easy as well for Candelario. At times he feels like an outsider in a school where he’s one of very few that fully understand what it means to come to be a first-generation college student. These emotions have only fueled him to finish what is expected to be the first of many steps. While Candelario hasn’t declared an official concentration just yet, he told NBC News that he’s interested in pursuing political science and economics. He hopes with his education he can one day become a lawyer and help those that come from marginalized backgrounds.
“I feel like for kids who come from marginalized backgrounds, being realistic can limit them,” Candelario told NBC News. “I feel like you have to dream big and tell your intentions to the world. All of high school, even as a freshman, I told people I wanted to go to Harvard. I put it in my Instagram bio, even though I wasn’t accepted. There’s something powerful about manifesting and verbalizing what you want and telling yourself you are capable of that.”
You could say “Oye Mi Amor” is a Latino theme song just as much as Selena’s “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom” and Juan Gabriel’s “Amor Eterno.” The song is a musical staple in Latino households because we’ve grown up listening to Maná. For anyone not familiar with Maná, they’re basically the Bon Jovi of Mexico. This rock band from Guadalajara could be considered an extended part of the family because they’re always being played a quinceñearas, parties, weddings, you name it. So, it’s only natural that Maná helps to pay for important milestone moments in our lives since they are a part of the family.
Maná announced that they are giving away a $10,000 scholarship to 15 Latino students between the ages of 18 to 35.
The band, along with Selva Negra Environmental Foundation, and the Univision Foundation, has started the Maná Scholarship Program. As we said, the scholarship will benefit up to 15 Latino students between the ages of 18 to 35 by helping them achieve their dream of furthering their education.
So who can apply for this scholarship? Anyone who has contributed in a positive way to their community.
According to the site, “These scholarships are intended to help applicants who have a demonstrated commitment to positive change in their communities; specifically, those who have chosen to help clean up or otherwise improve the environment around them.” They also state that the “scholarship is open to high school seniors or graduates and to current college undergraduates who are either U.S. citizens, legal residents of the U.S., or undocumented residents of the U.S., including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, and applications will be received and reviewed from September 9th through October 23rd, 2019.”
Yes, undocumented immigrants will be considered for this scholarship!
The only documents students should submit to be eligible is “current, complete transcript of grades. Grade reports are not accepted. Unofficial or online transcripts must display student name, school name, grades and credit hours for each course, and term in which each course was taken.”
While there’s certainly a lot of scholarships available for Latinos, it’s so rare to have those options available for undocumented people. They’re in this country too, and contributing in so many ways.
There is one issue that people on social media have with this scholarship. It is only available to Latinos in the United States and not in Mexico.
As we noted before, in order to be eligible for this scholarship, they must be “U.S. citizens, legal residents of the U.S., or undocumented residents of the U.S., including Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.” One person on Instagram said, “But why only the USA? In Latin America, we also have young people wanting opportunities.” Another said, “Why does Mana make more noise in the Latino population of the U.S than in Mexico?” One added, “They should have done this in first in Mexico.”
We do think it’s highly odd that a Mexican band would not have a separate scholarship for Mexican students. However, who knows, the more people inquire about it, there could be a chance that the band will see that it would only be fair to offer a scholarship to Mexican fans too. We’re certain they, Selva Negra, and Univision has more money to spare especially if that means giving the opportunity of higher education.
Some people are already applying and showing Maná what they’re all about.
We think this is a great opportunity for Latinos in the U.S. who have been working hard to make a positive difference in their community and give their all every day. There are so many young people who have done an incredible amount of work especially within the activism realm who should show off their accomplishments.
If you really want to get the attention of Maná we would highly suggest going to their next concert with a sign that says “I deserve your scholarship!”
It doesn’t hurt to try.
The band is currently on tour in the United States, so here’s your chance! They have several dates coming up in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Jose, San Diego, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, El Paso, Houston, Fresno. They are seriously touring nonstop. Click here to check out their next tour dates, and for more information on the scholarship, click here.