From The President & CEO
To say that the 2013-2014 fiscal year was transformative, is an understatement. We literally transformed nearly everything we do as an organization, from operations to programs. The underlying triggers are profound: 1) the exponential growth in numbers of college-bound Hispanic Students, across the United States, and 2) the advance of technology.
In September 2013, the Pew Research Center released its latest statistics on Hispanic College Enrollment and related trends, based on the latest U.S. Census. The numbers confirmed that there is a massive surge taking place that increases the demand for HSF Scholarships and services.
We learned that today, 1 in 4 public school students in the U.S. are Hispanic, and 69% of Hispanic high school graduates are now going directly to college, surpassing 67% of the general population. Hispanics, ages 18-24, now comprise 19% of all college students in the U.S.
It’s wonderful news, but there’s no time to rest. These same numbers also tell us that we have to step up our efforts to keep pace. The soaring cost of higher education is putting a four-year college out of reach for far more students than we have scholarships to support. We simply must do more – a lot more.
Which brings us full circle to technology. How it factors into the lives of students and their families, the nature of philanthropy, and the nuts-and-bolts machinery of awarding and administering scholarships, is nothing short of a sea change. When we started the fiscal year, we had already rebuilt our website, from top to bottom, and were well underway in building a new, web-enabled IT platform that could support everything from online scholarship applications, to on-line courses, and a mentor matching system as sophisticated as the formulas used by top commercial dating services. This buildout is now in its second, major phase, and will enable further innovations that take us to a whole new level.
Without this new technology we could never hope to keep up with the surge in demand we are facing. With it, we can realistically expect to award more scholarships than ever. But just as importantly, we can now reach millions in our community who may not qualify for an HSF Scholarship, but who will nevertheless be more successful in their college experiences, due to the information and services we provide through our web portal.
Our goal is to become the one-stop-shop for college-bound Hispanic students and their families. With the help of our Groundbreaking Partners, Wells Fargo and Target, our many other partners and donors around the country, and our more than 60,000 Alumni who serve as volunteers and ambassadors, we are well on our way. Through these improvements, we have the opportunity to build a better future for this country. We are grateful for your support!
Fidel A. Vargas
President & CEO