USAA grant supports access and equity project for first generation students

USAA grant supports access and equity project for first generation students

A $1 million grant from USAA is helping to launch a multi-year program to assist first-generation college students and their parents in navigating the admission process at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. 

The La Familia project is a comprehensive program of academic enrichment, family engagement, and scholarships to encourage first-generation students and their families in South Bexar County to pursue a college education and to earn a degree. It is part of the University’s ASPIRE network (A&M-San Antonio and South Bexar County ISD’s Partnership to Impact Regional Equity and Excellence).

La Familia will comprise three major initiatives:

  • A series of workshops to teach parents of 9-12th grade students financial and digital literacy, classroom advocacy, civic and leadership development and college readiness;
  • Jaguar Launch, a summer college readiness training for two summers to help 11-12th grade students strengthen writing and mathematics skills and other college readiness training; and
  • Structural financial support for scholarships and Jaguar Launch summer readiness training.

“We are grateful to USAA for its support of La Familia and for its sustained impact on education in San Antonio and beyond,” said A&M-San Antonio President Cynthia Teniente-Matson. “Just as we are intentional about dismantling racial and economic inequalities, so is USAA in its commitment to supporting creative solutions and investing in education.”

The USAA grant follows a $25,000 grant awarded by AT&T in fall 2021 to kick off the project.

The U.S. Department of Education has reported that one-third of first-generation college students drop out of college after three years, compared to 14% of their peers whose parents had earned a degree. In San Antonio, only 17% of Hispanics hold a bachelor’s degree, well beneath the degree attainment rate of the region’s White and Asian populations, according to the U.S. Census.

The direct result is lower earnings and economic attainment, with ancillary ramifications for the health, social, and cultural vitality of the entire region, Dr. Matson noted.

“La Familia is the most recent step in a continuing effort since our founding in 2009 to break down barriers and to create new opportunities to access and obtain quality education in our region,” she said.