Dayanna Huerta almost went to another university.
“I love Newman!” said Huerta, a sophomore Sociology and Psychology major who received the Newman University Hispanic Student Scholarship in her freshman year. “I love the people here. Everyone is so nice and helpful. And I love the small classes.”
Huerta is one of three students who received a $1,000 Newman University Hispanic Student Scholarship last year. The university awards the scholarships each year through the Kansas Hispanic Scholarship Program, which is funded through the Kansas Hispanic Education & Development Foundation (KHEDF) a 501 non-profit organization that partners with individuals, educational institutions, businesses and corporations to provide outstanding Hispanic students with an opportunity to complete a college education.
According to the KHEDF 2013 Annual Report, $57,000 was awarded to 43 students in the Wichita metro area this past year. At least half of the scholarship recipients are the first in their families to attend college. KHEDF has awarded more than $193,000 to 120 students since 2008.
Newman University plans to extend its commitment to the program by funding five Hispanic Student Scholarships next year.
The scholarships are awarded to students in or shortly after their senior year in college. Huerta learned she had received the scholarship the summer after she graduated from Bishop Carroll Catholic High School.
“I was considering going to another university or Newman, but after I received the scholarship it definitely pushed me toward Newman,” Huerta said. “It was really exciting to receive it, and it definitely helped financially.”
To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be high school seniors who are of Hispanic heritage (50 percent or more) and eligible to enroll in at least 12 credit hours in an institution of higher education the year immediately following graduation. The program is open to seniors who live in Wichita, Andover, Derby, Haysville, Goddard, Maize, and Valley Center. Applicants must also demonstrate financial need, and have a minimum 2.8 high school GPA. All scholarship recipients must maintain a minimum of 2.5 GPA and show satisfactory progress each semester.
Other students who have received Newman scholarships in the past are Ruben Lerma, Cristal Magdaleno and Abigail Rocha.
In addition to studying at Newman, Huerta volunteers at the university, the Red Cross and St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. She is also a Big Sister with Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Huerta was one of three scholarship recipients who spoke at a recent end-of-the-year recognition reception for the KHEDF.