The UNM College Enrichment and Outreach Programs was recently awarded $2.223 million from the U.S. Department of Education for a five-year term for the High School Equivalency Program (HEP). Funding for this new grant begins July 1. Additionally, UNM HEP celebrates 10 years and is marking that occasion, and the grant renewal, by hosting a celebration on Saturday, July 21, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the South Valley Economic Development Center, located at 318 Isleta Blvd. SW. Guests at the ceremony can get more information about the program. Onsite recruitment for the next fiscal year will also take place.

"This grant renewal is extremely important to our community because we will be able to continue assisting migrant and seasonal farm workers in our area with their pursuit of a GED, while also providing them with guidance to higher education. This grant award renewal demonstrates the great work UNM HEP has done in our community for the past 10 years," Susy Sarmiento, UNM HEP program specialist, said.

HEP assists students who are engaged in or whose immediate family member(s) are engaged in migrant or seasonal farm work to obtain a secondary school diploma or equivalent and subsequently gain employment, be placed in an institution of higher education, in other post-secondary education, or training; all of this accomplished through intensive GED preparatory instruction, tutoring and supportive services.

UNM HEP provides convenient and flexible GED instruction by working around the schedules of the program participants. The program includes intensive classroom instruction, individualized tutoring, stipends, child care assistance, GED testing fees, career and academic advisement, and much more.

"HEP has made a tremendous difference in my life. It is thanks to this program that this past semester I graduated with my bachelor's degree in psychology and plan to continue with a master's degree. I highly recommend the program," said HEP graduate Ramon Gambino. Upon successful completion of the program, HEP provides assistance for placement into a post-secondary institution, career position or military service.

For more information on the program, visit HEP or call UNM HEP recruiter, Dayra Fallad, at 505-277-3020.

Media Contact: Carolyn Gonzales (505) 277-5920; email: