College Assistant Migrant Program awarded $2.1 million

Rene Delgadillo and Grecia Sanchez

UTEP was awarded a five-year grant of $2.1 million from the U.S. Department of Education to help students who come from migrant and seasonal farm worker families to better accommodate them in the college life experience.

The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) at UTEP will come back to life with the grant after having little funds for at least three years.

“The idea is that we want the students to get a really solid first year at the university to prepare them for continued success in their next years at UTEP,” said Dorothy Ward, director of the Entering Student Program and CAMP’s principal investigator.

The school tuition of these students is not paid by the $2.1 million grant. Students are still responsible for applying for financial aid, but the program does offer other financial support for them as well as different workshops and tutoring support services.

“We have a laptop loan program, we will provide some school supplies to help them get started at the university, and there is the possibility that if they wish to live on campus we can provide some campus support,” Ward said. “We’ll have field trips and on-campus activities that we’ll do as a group, and will we give different kinds of workshops to help them learn and explore career options and campus engagement opportunities.”

CAMP is looking for students who can meet the program’s criteria so they can offer them a different type of school support. First-year UTEP students with a full-time schedule and who are part of migrant and seasonal farm worker families are encouraged to apply.

Laura Sariñana, a student who graduated with a degree in electronic media and public relations in 2013, said CAMP helped her socialize with other students on campus.

“Almost everyone at the program were first-generation students at college from their families so we had other people at the same boat understanding what we all were going through,” said Sariñana. “We were able to help one another in a healthy way by talking to one another, having study groups, going to networking events, traveling together, etc.”

Ward said the last grant that the UTEP CAMP received ended in 2012, which left the program without funds to help its students: but, with this year’s funds she said the program can get back on track.

“I’m very excited! It allows the university to support students who are from migrant farmer work families in a way we haven’t been able to support them for the last few years,” Ward said. “It is really exciting to have that money to really support the success of students.”

Ward said for this first semester of the program, CAMP will be accepting 20 students and that the program will be helping at least 152 students for the next five years. Out of those students, eight of them can receive a total of $550 each month for a student dorm if the student demonstrates the need for assistance. Students must still cover deposits and any other costs.

Óscar Núñez is an accounting major who graduated in 2003, and he said he has kept the good study habits mentors at the CAMP Program taught him.

“The CAMP Program gave me guidance, study habits and a better approach to college throughout my freshmen year,” Núñez said. “They taught me how to register for classes; they gave me feedback about professors at campus; they also gave me opportunities to network with other students I could rely on. I could always ask them my doubts and they were always there for me.”

For more information on how to apply for CAMP, visit or contact Dorothy Ward at 747-8431.

Rene Delgadillo and Grecia Sánchez may be reached at [email protected]