The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) is in the third year of a five year grant at the University of New Mexico-Taos campus. The program is a federally-funded educational support and scholarship program that helps more than 2,000 students annually from migrant and seasonal farm-working backgrounds develop the skills they need to stay in school and successfully graduate from college.

The CAMP model focuses on comprehensive advising, building individualized relations with students, career development, exploration and identification, program of study, and giving the students the skills they need to succeed in college, career and life.

CAMP advisor and recruiter Nicole Romero believes that the secret to the program’s success is surrounding the student with constant caring and support. “We help them academically and financially during their freshman year of college, but our program is designed for all ages,” she said. “We help them navigate different resources offered on campus, including financial aid, tutoring, mentoring, admissions and advising. If they need transportation, we help them with that. We help with tuition. We can help with child care if students have children. We pay for books. We provide an $80 a month stipend for participating. We also provide up to $300 for a computer and $125 for software.”

After receiving his GED at 18, Martin Trujillo found that he qualified for the Lottery and Bridge scholarships and registered for classes at UNM-Taos. He signed up for CAMP, and today Trujillo is a work study helping to recruit other students into CAMP as well.

“When I got my GED, I wasn’t ready to jump into college right away and be on my own,” Trujillo said. “That’s a scary step for a lot of teens, and I knew I needed a really strong support system. So it helped me to be involved with a group of students in CAMP who were also all freaked out about school, and build relationships with great advisors at the same time.”

Trujillo added that CAMP helped him a great deal, and was also a lot of fun. “I made a new friends, and I’ve reconnected with students I knew in Questa and Taos. I tell them that not long ago, I was in the same position that they’re in now, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. But you just have to take a chance, and try to be the best student you can be. Because education really makes a difference, and once you get that degree it’ll all be worth it.”

CAMP was established in 1972 and has helped over 20,000 students accomplish their educational goals. CAMP grant directors collectively report 4-year national retention rates of over 80 percent and college graduation rates of approximately 75 percent.

Admittance into the program requires filling out an application---help is available, if needed. Students have to be enrolled at UNM-Taos, but have taken fewer than 24 credit hours, and they or their parents have to have done 75 days of agricultural work in the past two years to qualify.

For more information, contact Nicole Romero at (575) 737-3721 or (575) 252-3014.