In 2012, Mariana Madrigal was a student at the University of New Mexico pursuing a degree in international studies and political science. When her mother needed to return to Mexico, Madrigal worried how she would be able to afford to finish her degree. Madrigal was fortunate because UNM and the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs established a scholarship fund for students like her.

Now in 2014, UNM President Robert G. Frank and Mauricio Ibarra Ponce de León, Consul of Mexico in Albuquerque, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the fourth consecutive year, signifying their continued collaboration to offer and support higher education initiatives of Mexican migrants in the United States.

Frank said, “This is a great day for UNM. On behalf of our students, I truly appreciate all that you personally have done to lead the way for these scholarships which benefit UNM students. Students tell me all the time how important the scholarships are to them.”

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

For the 2014 academic year, the Consulate of Mexico in Albuquerque raised its contribution from $50,000 to $70,000, provided by the Mexican government, which will be matched by private funding administered by the UNM Foundation, for a total of $140,000 to be granted in scholarships for Mexican/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 Mexicans living 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, provide for the IME Fellowship Program.

UNM Vice President for Student Affairs Eliseo "Cheo" Torres said, "This is the largest amound we have received since the scholarship's inception." He added, This scholarship, through the generosity of the Mexican government, has supported and retained many students with financial need."

Madrigal, who is from Mexico City, earned that UNM degree. “I came in as an international student. The scholarship was very important for me to finish school,” she said. Madrigal now puts her UNM degree to work at the Consulate of Mexico in Albuquerque.