Dr. Samuel Lopez
assistant professor of health, physical education and recreation, (office) 308.865.8179 or (at camp) 308.440.3165

The University of Nebraska at Kearney has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to increase access to higher education among Hispanics and other minorities in Nebraska. The project responds to a growing need for support to ensure all students have appropriate educational goals and the resources to meet those goals.

“We know the students are in the K-12 schools, but they don’t show up at the college level,” said Dr. Sam Lopez, project director and assistant professor of Health and Physical Education.

UNK, for example, has Hispanic enrollment rates of one or two percent despite the rapidly growing number of Hispanic students in area school systems. “This grant will help us support the families, schools and teachers that are so important in getting any student into college,” Lopez said.

The University of Nebraska system has been actively working to diversify the faculty, staff and student populations to enrich the University community and better serve the state. This project provides external resources to address the priority of diversification.

Representative Tom Osborne was an advocate of the project before Congress, providing vital support during the appropriations process. “Expanding access to higher education for all Nebraskans is critical. I am pleased to have worked with the University of Nebraska-Kearney on this successful effort,” Rep. Osborne said. “Aiding in the federal grant application process is a key responsibility for a member of Congress. I look forward to working with UNK in the future and fighting for other necessary projects in the Third District.”

The project will target students in the fourth through sixth grades by providing academic enrichment and expectations so students can start thinking about the lifelong process of education at an early age. Seven communities with significant Hispanic, Native American and other minority populations will be involved in the project.