LULAC National Educational Services Centers, Inc. (LNESC)

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Celebrating 40 Years of Educational Excellence

Since our founding in 1973 by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), LNESC has served over 500,000 disadvantaged students, sent over 150,000 students to college, and awarded over $20 million in scholarships to make college a reality for students living in some of the country’s poorest communities. Our educational programs break down the barriers that exist between high-need students and high school diplomas, college degrees, and jobs in highly skilled fields in science, engineering, and math

According to recent data from the Pew Hispanic Center, our hard work is paying off. For the first time, the number of 18- to 24-year-old Latinos enrolled in college exceeded 2 million and reached a record 16.5 percent share of all college enrollments. We are now, for the first time, the largest minority group among the country’s four-year college and university students.  This trend is due, in part, to the success of organizations like LNESC and our work to build private and public partnerships for the benefit of high-need students.

College Access

LNESC was recently awarded 12 federal Upward Bound and Talent Search grants to provide thousands of students with academic and college access counseling. These programs are essential components of LNESC’s strategy to close the achievement gap in the Hispanic community. Nationally, 91 percent of Upward Bound participants who graduate from high school enroll in a post-secondary degree program the year of their graduation, compared to 41 percent of students not in an Upward Bound program.

Throughout our history, LNESC has achieved amazing results working in a wide range of educational areas; including college access, literacy, and scholarship assistance.


Through our network of 14 Young Readers programs, LNESC provides cutting edge literacy programming to k-2nd graders. Our Young Readers network leverages passionate teachers, technology, and engaged corporate partners like P&G, Target, and Verizon to improve reading outcomes for high need students with limited reading time outside the classroom.

Scholarship Assistance 

Since 1975, LNESC has awarded over $20 million in scholarship support to disadvantaged students across the nation. Through the LULAC National Scholarship Fund (LNSF), LNESC works with corporate partners and LULAC Councils to ensure money isn’t an obstacle to higher education. According to Eluterio Vargars, one of our Verizon LNSF scholarship recipients, “The scholarship has been helpful not only to me but to my family as well. As a first generation college student, my family has always struggled financially with putting us through a higher education. This scholarship has helped in so many ways that I can’ t even explain.”

Looking Ahead 

Thanks to LNESC’s hard work, there are more students excited to read in Miami, FL, more students entering their freshmen year at universities across the nation, and fewer parents wondering how they will pay for college. While we take pride in these accomplishments, we know there is still work to do. Many students are still in need of guidance, inspiration, and resources to make their educational dreams a reality and as we celebrate our 40th anniversary, we will continue to make these students our top priority.


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College Access & Success 101 with McDonald’s – vital information for high-need communities

Earlier this year, LNESC, McDonald’s USA, and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) partnered to launch a national initiative to provide greater access to higher education for Latino students in seven cities across the U.S. (Los Angeles, Chicago, El Paso, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Miami). The program called Steps for Success, consisted of a full day of bilingual hands-on specialized instruction and college preparation workshops for high school students and their parents and resulted in packed auditoriums and gyms.

LNESC was excited to partner with McDonald’s to take this program to the next level by providing additional support in the seven cities through the College Access & Success 101 program, which consisted of open lab hours and workshops on critical college access topics like FAFSA completion, college application procedures, and financial aid assistance. The central idea was to continue to support the communities where Steps for Success workshops were held – this program innovation resulted in additional services for high-need parents and students across the country.

I was fortunate to attend one of the Steps for Success workshops in Philadelphia and was blown away by the impact the presenters had on students and parents. Working at the national level, I often experience the education gap that exists in the Latino community as mere numbers on a screen (for instance, only 11.4 percent of Hispanics are enrolled in college). However, as I sat in on several sessions I heard students ask what I thought were basic questions like, “What’s a personal statement?” or “What is the FAFSA for?.” It was clear that these workshops were essential to getting these young people into college and to increasing Latino college enrollment beyond that 11.4 percent.



Parents and students flip through college guidebooks at the Philadelphia workshop.


Community Impact

The College Access & Success 101 workshops have already proven to be a hit in the community. “They gave a lot of information for Hispanic parents, which we usually do not get,” said a parent who attended the October 29 workshop in Houston. Another parent said the workshop eased her doubts, and plans to attend more College Access workshops in the future. “I wanted clear recommendations, and we will receive more help with finding schools and scholarships in the next classes.”

Students also had great things to say about the workshops as well. “What I liked about the program was that it gave me plenty of information about what I need to do to get accepted to a college,” said a student in Philadelphia. “The program was very good and interesting.”

Jessica Rivera, LNESC director in Philadelphia, explained that workshops were useful because they incorporated practical information and involved both parents and students. “During the college application workshop parents learned about the application process. We used the Temple University application in order for parents and students to see what it looked like and how they were to fill it out.  Every parent and student received a copy of the application,” said Ms. Rivera. “It is great to see how parents are committed to learning how they can help and support their children by attending these workshops.”

Students listen attentively at El Paso workshop

Students listen attentively at El Paso workshop

Not Just for Burgers…

College Access & Success 101 would not have been possible without the dedication and support of McDonald’s, who has been a true believer in LNESC’s mission to provide innovative educational opportunities for the Hispanic community. From corporate headquarters to local owner/operators, McDonald’s has been an invaluable partner for getting college access information to the high-need communities that LNESC serves.

For the students and parents that attended a College Access & Success 101 workshop, McDonald’s is about more than burgers, it’s about educational opportunity.

Interested in attending a College Access & Success 101 Workshop or just want to know more about LNESC programs near you? Visit our website at www.lnesc.org