UNM President Robert Frank, UNM Foundation President Henry Nemcik and Mauricio Ibarra Ponce de Leon, Consul of Mexico in Albuquerque, recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding signifying their continued collaboration to offer and support higher education initiatives for Mexican migrants in the United States.

"This is the second step in a great partnership in helping underprivileged students attend UNM," Frank said.

The Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs established the IME-Becas Scholarship Program two years ago with the intent of improving access opportunities for Mexicans and individuals of Mexican origin in all educational levels through higher education programs in the United States.

For the 2012 academic year, the Consulate of Mexico in Albuquerque is contributing $54,000 provided by the Government of the United Mexican States, which will be matched by private funding administered by the UNM Foundation for a total of $108,000 to be granted in scholarships for Mexican or Mexican origin students enrolled at UNM with a specific cultural interest in Mexico.

The objective of the scholarship program is to contribute to the development and advancement of Mexican migrants in United States through resources supporting students in their pursuit of higher education who face complicated economic situations. These resources are allocated to educational and community agencies that are able to match the amounts that the government of Mexico, through its consular network in the United States.

"UNM is our neighbor and we are grateful for the partnership with them. Bearing in mind the adverse situation youngsters and adults in North America face to finance their education, initiatives such as the IME Fellowship Program are highly relevant not only for enthusiastic students seeking a better opportunity in life, but for society as a whole," Ibarra said.

Eliseo "Cheo" Torres, UNM vice president for Student Affairs, has been working with the Consul and the UNM Foundation to enhance financial and educational programs for the students receiving the scholarships and private support. "This is an excellent investment in the future of New Mexico and will enhance our economic development with an educated workforce," he said.

Media Contact: Carolyn Gonzales (505) 277-5920; email: cgonzal@unm.edu