WASHINGTON, D.C, December 4, 2008 — University of Phoenix Foundation today announced it will award a $50,000 grant to the Hispanic College Fund to support the Hispanic Youth Symposium, a nationwide college access program that inspires and leads Hispanic high school students to pursue a college education and professional career in business, science, technology, engineering, and math.

The Hispanic Youth Symposium was initiated in 2004 in Fairfax, Virginia, and since then has reached over 1,700 Hispanic high school students in communities including Albuquerque, Fresno, Phoenix, Richmond, and Washington, D.C. This summer, new symposia will be launched in Los Angeles and Dallas. At each symposium, students compete for more than $14,000 in college scholarships, meet Hispanic mentors, experience life on a college campus, become introduced to professional career opportunities, and engage with an array of colleges and future employers.

Follow-up surveys indicate that more than 90 percent of alumni report being in college or on a college-going track.

The University of Phoenix Foundation grant will ensure that more than 1,000 underserved students are impacted in 2009. "We are so pleased to be able to support the great work the Hispanic College Fund has been performing for the past 15 years," commented Ayla Dickey, University of Phoenix Foundation President. "Our mission is to ensure access to education for all and this wouldn't be possible without groups like the Hispanic College Fund."�

"The majority of our symposium participants come from households where the highest level of education of their parents is a high school degree or less," said Idalia Fernandez, president of the Hispanic College Fund. "The majority are also on free and reduced-price lunch in school. We open up doors for these students that help make their dreams – and their parents' dreams – come true."�

The students of the symposia also get to interact with Hispanic college students who volunteer to serve as near-peer mentors.

"The easiest way to be a role model is to give to your community," said Amilcar Guzman, a former Hispanic College Fund Scholar. "I volunteer at the Hispanic Youth Symposium in my spare time, helping high school students understand why it's important to go to college."

About the Hispanic College Fund

Founded in 1993, the Hispanic College Fund is a nonprofit organization that provides Hispanic high school and college students with the vision, resources, and mentorship needed to become community leaders and achieve successful careers in business, science, technology, engineering and math.

The Hispanic College Fund has an annual budget of $6 million with 20 full-time employees. In 2006, the Hispanic College Fund received the Brillante award for "Nonprofit of the Year" from the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, and in 2007 was recognized by USA Today as one of the nation's top 25 charities.

Website: www.hispanicfund.org

About the University of Phoenix Foundation

Founded in 2006, the Foundation's mission is to increase access to education in critical areas, especially for underrepresented and low-income students traditionally under-served by the education continuum, in an effort to provide a pathway for economic advancement. The University of Phoenix Foundation works to fulfill its mission by providing grants to 501(c)(3), non-profit, tax-exempt, public charities to support the following: programs that promote school readiness, particularly among at-risk students; programs that improve educational opportunities for underrepresented students; programs that increase the rate of underrepresented students earning college and advanced degrees; and programs that contribute to the educational dialogue and research regarding the environment


University of Phoenix is constantly innovating to help students balance education and life in a rapidly changing world. Through flexible schedules, challenging courses and interactive learning, students achieve personal and career aspirations without putting their lives on hold. As of May 31, 2008, 345,300 students were enrolled at University of Phoenix, the largest private university in North America. University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population, offering associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree programs from campuses and learning centers across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world.


Wendy Paul