Latino Initiative

Institution (custom)
Utah Valley University
Academic Level
Issue Area
Program Focus
Parental/Family Engagement,
Summer Bridge


The Latino Initiative at Utah Valley University was established in 2007 to provide access and equitable opportunities for Latino students to enroll and graduate with a college degree. Their goal is to close the achievement gap in Utah by engaging students, parents, educators, and community leaders in dialogues, programs, resources, and services to provide college access and graduation opportunities for Latina/o youth and their families. Additionally, they work towards increasing the number of Latina/o students who enroll in and complete their college education and create and foster K-16 and community partnerships to increase academic opportunities for Latina/o students.

Program Description

The Latino Initiative started in 2007 to fulfill an institutional need to provide access and equitable opportunities to increase the number of Latino students who graduate from Utah Valley University. They have established strong K-16 and community partnerships that have allowed them to work with thousands of students and their families.  They provide 14-20 Latino parent open houses in a year, free summer bridge programs for high students where over 850 students have received 5-6 college credits, Latino student conferences, and events where the experiences of Latino students are validated.

Their practices include advocating for services, resources, and Latino student leadership participation. They advocate and influence institutional practices to lower barriers for all Latina/o students, particularly those who are low income, first-generation, and undocumented. Also, through their K-12 collaboration, they have been able to impact many of the school cultures on Latino parental engagement and Latino student academic excellence. One of those examples is the Rising Wolverine award, where they recognize over 112 Latino middle school students during their annual Latin American Celebration dinner, where they host 1,100 students, parents, community members, leaders, faculty, and staff.


  • UVU has had the largest Latino student population as a four-year higher education institution since 2008.
  • In 2019, the UVU Latino enrollment was 4,911 students which accounted for 12% of student population. 
  • In 2019, the UVU Latino graduation headcount was 609 students.  
  • The Latino Initiative reaches out to approximately 6,000 - 7,000 Latino students and their parents per year.
  • Since inception, the Latino Initiative has increased Latino student enrollment by 361% and Latino graduation headcount by 425%.