In 1975, the Latin American Recruitment and Educational Services (LARES) Program was founded within the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to address the growing educational needs of the Latino community, including student access, and degree completion. LARES has an established track record of developing the program’s innovative recruitment and retention strategies that have contributed to UIC’s leadership in Latino education.

The Graduate Support Center (GSC) was established in 2010 via a Department of Education HSI Title V Promoting Post Baccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans (PPOHA) grant as a multipurpose learning assistance and support services center.  The Center offers an Academic Workshop Series, a Graduate Writing Institute, and Family Orientation to increase student’s educational success. Hispanics represent 48% of master’s degree students.

From 2008 to 2010, Supporting Our Leaders (SOL) evolved and is the only Latino youth program in Kent County designed to promote the educational success of the entire family through innovative and culturally responsive engagement activities. The community surrounding the Hispanic Center is severely underserved, 76% are Latino and 63% have less than a high school diploma.