The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), today announced that they are accepting applications for the 12th annual “¡Lánzate! / Take Off!” Travel Award program. Prizes for the program will be provided by Southwest Airlines Co. Online applications will be accepted through May 13, 2016, at The program is geared toward Latino college students with economic need who pursue higher education at least 200 miles away from home.  All applicants must complete an online application including an essay describing their inspiration to pursue a college degree.

Educators and education activists from around the country will form a diverse judging panel this summer to choose the 2016 Travel Award recipients. For more information about the prize and to view the criteria for the 2016 award program, please visit:SWAmedia.

Travel has been provided to 830 students since the program’s inception in 2005. 2015 student recipient Gabriela Lopez shared, “Since receiving this award, I was able to spend this past Thanksgiving with my family. I particularly enjoyed the ease of being able to book arrival and departure dates that worked best with my school schedule without any financial limitations. I highly recommend this program to any student that lives far from the people they love and experiences financial barriers when planning a trip to visit them.”

“At Southwest Airlines, we are passionate about connecting People to what’s important in their lives,” said Christine Ortega, Southwest Airlines Manager of Community Affairs & Grassroots. “Through the “¡Lánzate! / Take Off!” Travel Award program, we are proud to help Latino students stay connected to their families. That connection to family is often the difference between staying in school and dropping out. We believe in strengthening the communities we serve and we’re proud to play a part in helping these students achieve their dreams.”

“As the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities celebrates its 30-year milestone since its founding in San Antonio, Texas, we applaud the Southwest Airlines ¡Lánzate! Travel Award Program for the ongoing commitment to Championing Hispanic Success in Higher Education,” said HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores. “It’s difficult to be away from family starting a new life in college. The ¡Lánzate! Travel Award Program helps Hispanic families stay connected during the higher education journey.”

More than 1,700 Southwest Airlines® roundtrip tickets have been awarded to students across the nation since the program’s inception in 2005.


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