“In our Latino culture, if you don’t have the money for it, you don’t buy it,” says Ochoa. “But even young people who lack the money can attend college.”
Low-income, first-generation students and students of color are severely underrepresented on college campuses, but after 2020 minority students will outnumber whites according to a report issued by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
“The next pipeline in college attendance will be Latinos,” Ochoa told El Centinela, the largest Spanish-language newspaper in Oregon.
Unfortunately, many who do make it to college are not finding supportive college environments or graduating. Part of the problem is money, says Ochoa.
“But many scholarships are available,” he says. “In fact, millions of dollars in scholarship money goes unclaimed.
“Sometimes winning a scholarship is just about knowing where to look for help and turning in an application. The key is to start planning early.”
Foundations that offer scholarships typically look for evidence of community service, good grades and leadership positions. Scholarship committees also favor prospective students who have work experience and have overcome their obstacles.
“You can’t change the circumstances that are beyond your control,” Ochoa says, “but you can turn your obstacles into strengths.”
Linfield was recognized in the 2011 College Access & Opportunity Guide for support of low-income, first-generation college students. The guide, published by the Center for Student Opportunity, recognized Linfield for its outreach efforts, financial aid opportunities and student support services.