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. LARES has formed partnerships, and works closely with grammar schools, public and private high schools, city and community colleges, and social service and community agencies to help facilitate college access. Services provided include academic advising, financial aid, scholarship assistance, tutoring, supplemental instruction, preparation for graduate school, student and parent orientation, admissions, and recruitment.
The LARES mission is “To provide personal growth and educational opportunities to UIC students and prepare leaders who will make individual and collective contributions toward the educational, cultural and social advancement of the Latino community”. The program encourages student participation in leadership activities that enrich their undergraduate education and increase their chances for success. The LARES program also provides educational opportunities through various initiatives that improve the students college level skills in math, reading, writing, and critical thinking while developing leadership skills.
- In the past 10 years, Latino First Full Time Freshmen enrollment has increased by 167% (from 476 to 1272), representing 38.5% of the total UIC freshmen enrollment.
- Since the Fall 1991, six-year Latino graduation rates grew from 25% to 55%
- LARES assisted more than 10,000 prospective students in recruitment related activities
- In the State of Illinois, UIC graduates more Latino students than any other university. Nationally, UIC ranks 50th granting baccalaureates (Hispanic Outlook). UIC enrolls more Latino students than any other four-year private or public university in Illinois.