College Access  

From exploration and applications to college decisions

Latino U Scholars

The Latino U Scholars program guides first-generation students through individualized coaching and culturally relevant programs as they navigate higher education to enroll in schools that meet their financial and academic needs. Our program is unique because of its depth and duration; we make a six-year commitment to Scholars and families, walking with them every step of the way to and through college.

It begins in junior year of high school when students are nominated by School Counselors in partner school districts. Scholars are paired with highly-trained volunteer College Coaches who provide intensive, individualized mentorship throughout the college admissions process.

Students – many of whom have part-time jobs – commit three to four hours per week to participate in workshops and meetings so that they prepare competitive applications, write high-quality statements, and apply to a wide range of institutions.

The LUCA team also supports families as they submit critical financial aid applications and make college decisions, ensuring the best academic and financial fit for every student.

As of 2022, 274 Scholars have participated in the program.

Thank You Volunteer College Coaches!

Volunteer College Coaches provide individualized guidance and mentorship to students from junior year through senior year of high school. LUCA extensively trains Coaches to ensure they have the skills and cultural sensitivity required to provide high-quality support to Scholars. Each high school Scholar receives an average of 226 hours of service!

“I am a believer that if you really want to see change happen, you need to make it happen. That is what LUCA is doing one Scholar at a time. What I was truly unprepared for was the unique connection I would have with my Scholar and her family, and the reciprocated connection she gave mine.” – Joann, Volunteer College Coach

Financial Aid Advising

At LUCA, we are committed to making college attainable for more students. Through our community programs and Scholar advising, our volunteers ensure we increase the number of financial aid applications submitted by low-income families in our community.

We guide Scholars and parents as they complete critical forms like the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), New York State Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), and the CSS Profile. These applications must be completed accurately and on time so that families can receive the maximum amount of financial aid. Students also receive support reviewing financial aid award letters and appealing when necessary.