Lynwood High School senior Mark Iniguez knows that the high cost of college can be a barrier for students so he was determined to get a jumpstart by taking college courses and exploring scholarship opportunities. Iniguez’s hard work paid off in a big way on Feb. 1 when he was offered a $92,000 scholarship to Benedict College during the Historically Black College and Universities (HBCU) Caravan Tour.
Hundreds of Lynwood Unified Students filled the gymnasiums at Lynwood and Firebaugh high schools to meet with HBCU recruiters, who presented them with on-the-spot acceptance and, for some, full-ride scholarships.
“I am excited because a lot of people do not always get the opportunity to go to college,” Iniguez said. “A full-ride scholarship to Benedict College will help me in pursuing a career in criminal justice.”
Lynwood High students received $3.2 million in scholarships and 248 acceptances, and Firebaugh/Vista High students obtained $1.9 million in scholarships with 154 acceptances.
The tour was organized by the National College Resources Foundation (NCRF) and the Black College Expo. Students submitted transcripts and SAT/ACT scores to participating HCBUs, which included Tuskegee University, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Harris-Stowe State University and Benedict. Representatives were at each high school for two hours and, in addition to on-the-spot acceptances, recruiters also waived application fees.
“At Lynwood Unified, we are working tirelessly to ensure we present our students with the opportunities they need to pursue post-secondary education,” Lynwood Unified Superintendent Gudiel R. Crosthwaite said. “With the help of the NCRF, we were able to expose students to colleges and universities and make higher education more accessible for them.”
Theresa Price, founder of NCRF and the Black College Expo, partnered with Lynwood Unified to bring resources and information to high school students to help them navigate their path to college.
“Our motto is to connect students to college, careers and beyond,” Price said. “We work with students throughout the year, providing mentoring, college and career preparation and interventions. We want students to know they can do anything and everything, and this tour gives them the confidence they need to do just that.”
Over the years, the NCRF has helped students secure over $500 million in scholarships and grants, and helped over 500,000 students receive acceptance into college. Additionally, the NCRF has helped increase grades and test scores, decrease dropout rates and increase college entrance and completion rates.