Latino U Scholars

New York
Academic Level
Community-Based Organization
Issue Area
Program Focus
College Prep


Latino U College Access (LUCA) aims to increase college enrollment and completion for low-income, high-achieving, Latino youth who are first in their family to go to college. LUCA partners with four school districts in Westchester County, NY that are 50% or more Hispanic. 

LUCA is the only area college access organization solely dedicated to advancing Hispanic youth. LUCA guides and supports families early in high school to find colleges that meet academic and financial needs, improving the likelihood students will stay in college until completion. LUCA support Scholars for 6 years, in and through college, supporting transitions and providing mentoring and career readiness preparation.

Program Description

LUCA launched in 2012 to address inequity in access to resources and opportunity in higher education. Over 7 years, LUCA has grown to serve over 3,000 parents and students in 4 school districts with many corporate and community partners. LUCA engages families through bilingual, culturally relevant information sessions on how to prepare for, search for, and pay for college. LUCA also hosts FAFSA Boot Camps to boost applications for financial aid.

LUCA partners with school district guidance counselors and provides intensive individualized support from college search through college completion to 40 Scholars/year. Participants also benefit from a Summer College Knowledge orientation week on a college campus, free 8-week SAT test prep, essay writing workshops, and 1-1 mentoring. 

Once in college, LUCA provides workshops on time management, dealing with stress, diversity on campus, finding resources, career readiness and networking skills, mock interviews and resume writing.


100% of LUCA Scholars graduated high school and entered college.

100% of Class of 2018 Scholars entered bachelors granting institutions.

Scholars to date:
100% applied to a combination of 4-year public and private universities.
99% are currently in college and are on track to graduate within 4 years.
93% are enrolled in 4-year universities.
50% are enrolled in highly selective and very selective institutions like Barnard Binghamton University, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, NYU and Princeton.
61% of Scholars are majoring in STEM fields.
100% received assistance with FAFSA, NYS TAP, and CSS Profile applications. 
$1,926,557 in financial aid received by Class of 2018 Scholars.
100% of Scholars enrolled in college with less than $10,000 out of pocket cost.
72% of college graduates are employed full-time and 9% are enrolled in graduate school.