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Latino Education & Access Program (LEAP)

President Vicente Fox's day of discussions at Western Oregon University (WOU) formally kicks-off the fundraising effort to create a sustainable scholarship program that supports both the entrance to and graduation of Latino students from Western Oregon University.


WOU has become a national leader in eliminating the traditional barriers that prevent Latino students from beginning and completing college. WOU has the highest percentage of Latino student enrollment among all Oregon 4-year colleges and universities. Our efforts to date have resulted in recognition by the Education Trust (2010) for being the top university in America in eliminating the graduation gap between Latino and White students. The Oregon Commission on Hispanic Affairs (2011) has also recognized WOU for its ongoing efforts to support Latino students and their families.


Latino students, like many other students, struggle to overcome a significant barrier to college completion-affordability. Despite the success of the Western Tuition Promise (a guarantee of no tuition increases for four years), and the development of the new Western Textbook Rental Program, many students continue to struggle to pay for college. The development of an endowed scholarship will increase the number of Latino students who graduate from WOU.


Two unique aspects of these LEAP scholarships reflect WOU's experience in working with lower-income students.

  • Continuing students who have completed at least 90 credits will receive priority in making awards, and financial need and leadership will be major factors in award decisions. The scholarships will range from $500 to $1500. Students often need additional assistance to cover bills so that they can balance school and work (the majority of WOU students hold jobs while in school and most students average over 20 hours a week of employment).
  • Students will be expected to pay it forward. Recipients of the scholarship will be encouraged to make contributions back to WOU over their lifetimes to support future students. Former WOU students have already expressed an interest in supporting this scholarship.


WOU will use the net proceeds from corporate sponsors of President Fox's visit to establish this important scholarship program. We thank you for your investment in the success of Oregon's fastest growing ethnic community.


Dave McDonald, Associate Provost toll-free at 1-877-877-1593 | or e-mail: