As published in the Las Cruces Sun-News, November 2, 2020
COVID has changed nearly everything about our lives and made it difficult to plan for the future. But for our middle and high school students, one thing hasn’t changed – it’s absolutely critical to earn a college credential or degree after high school to ensure their future careers and earning power.
Just like we saw during the Great Recession, the people who are weathering employment better in COVID are those who have a skill-based college credential, two-year degree, four-year degree, or higher. Those with a high school diploma or less are more likely to be unemployed, and in our county, unemployment is disproportionately affecting Hispanic workers three to one.
So, New Mexico State University solidifying its relationship with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund couldn’t have come at a better time. The Hispanic Scholarship Fund is a national organization dedicated to helping Hispanic students and families plan for, prepare for, and succeed at college.
From its website: HSF empowers Latino families with the knowledge and resources needed to successfully complete a higher education and provides scholarships and support services to as many exceptional Hispanic American students as possible. HSF strives to make college education a top priority for every Latino family across the nation, mobilizing our community to proactively advance that goal—each individual, over a lifetime, in every way they can.
The organization offers numerous programs to help all students and families, and one of those supports is Virtual College Camp, which will be available to all students in our community, regardless of race or ethnicity, on Saturday, Nov. 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The free, bilingual college preparation workshop will be held on Zoom to help middle and high school students and their families learn more about how to prepare for college.
Virtual College Camp is a half-day program focused on topics like preparing for and applying to college, selecting a college, paying for college, writing a personal statement, researching financial aid and scholarship opportunities, and understanding the cost of a college education. The camp is offered in English and Spanish.
It also gives attendants access to a suite of other programs offered by the organization, including: College 101, Youth Leadership Institute, Scholar Conferences, and scholarships for exceptional students, as well as other resources.
Before COVID, this opportunity would have been in person and limited in attendance. One good thing from the transition to a virtual setting is that there is no limit on student attendance.
The partnership with NMSU is really an outstanding benefit to students in our county. New Mexico universities rank at the top nationally for college affordability, and NMSU and DACC, according to a recent study by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, do provide a solid return on investment when comparing first-year monthly earnings with monthly college debt payments.
Some of the best majors/degrees at both institutions for return on investment are:
New Mexico State University
Aerospace, Aeronautical, and Astronautical Engineering
$5,433 earnings/mo.; $232 debt/mo.
Computer and Information Systems
$4,317 earnings/mo.; $238 debt/mo.
$4,917 earnings/mo.; $204 debt/mo.
Electrical, Electronics, and Communications Engineering
$5,308 earnings/mo.; $170 debt/mo.
$3,175 earnings/mo.; $216 debt/mo.
$3092 earnings/mo.; $195 debt/mo.
$5,000 earnings/mo.; $179 debt/mo.
Allied Health Diagnostic, Intervention, and Treatment Professions
$3,550 earnings/mo.; $106 debt/mo.
$2,400 earnings/mo.; $165 debt/mo.
$2,317 earnings/mo.; $91 debt/mo.
Every one of these degrees are important to employers here in our area, especially those in the industries we target for economic development.
It’s important for us to help our young people plan for a future beyond COVID. There really will be one, and this time can help them come out of the pandemic on a clear path for their futures.
Click on the link above or visit hsf.net to register for Virtual College Camp, or to learn more, contact NMSU’s Student Success Center at 575-646-3136.