College Assistance Migrant Program Receives Funding for Five More Years

April 30, 2021 - Dorene DiNaro

CAMP PhotoThe UNM College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), was recently awarded $2.375 million from the U.S. Department of Education for a five-year term. Funding for this new grant begins July 1.  Over the past 20 years, the program has contributed $8.5 million to the University through four five-year award cycles.

The grant was first awarded in 2001 and will enter its fifth cycle on July 1.  Throughout its tenure, the program has served 587 students—many of which have gone on to complete their graduate program, doctoral, or other terminal degree. 

With the current renewal, the program will serve 150 students from rural New Mexico who may not have considered UNM as an option due to cost, distance and exposure to higher education as an option.  Brenda Ramos Villanueva, CAMP alum and president of the UNM CAMPerinos Student Organization, remembers being in high school, as an unaccompanied youth farmworker, and feeling like the possibility of going to college was almost impossible. 

 “Without the proper guidance, I was about to make a mess out of my life, until I saw UNM CAMP at a college fair in my high school,” Ramos Villanueva says.  “The CAMP recruiter saw the potential in me to become a selected scholar.”

Ivan Olay, Program Director for UNM CAMP, HEP and RSP, says that CAMP students come from hardworking families with dreams in alignment with the University’s mission of providing opportunities for becoming enlightened individuals that contribute to the state, nation, and society as a whole.  This award will impact current and future generations of students from our rural populations changing the earning potential and overall quality of life for the students and their families.

CAMP was established to identify, recruit, admit, and enroll migrant and seasonal farm worker students and provide them with the academic, social, and financial support to enable completion of their first year of college. 

According to Rosa Isela Cervantes, Grant PI and UNM El Centro de la Raza Director, as one of the very first Higher Education Institutions in the nation that is both a Hispanic-Serving Institution and a Carnegie Designated Very High Research Institute, UNM is tasked with prioritizing and serving some of our state’s most economically vulnerable communities.  “The College Assistance Migrant Program has been doing this very thing for 20 years while always taking a strengths-based approach and meeting students where they are,” she says. 

In addition to their first year of participation in the program, CAMP students have the opportunity to receive on-going academic support services through the Division of Student Affairs including help facilitating their retention in higher education through graduation and beyond.  “The CAMP program supports students throughout their academic and life journeys,” Cervantes says. 

“I thank the universe for bringing into existence a program like CAMP—a program which helped me complete the most challenging phase of my career: freshmen year, and which created a space of opportunities for me which traced my whole future,” says Ramos Villanueva. “I was recently accepted into the UNM MARC program and plan to pursue a PhD in Bioengineering, something that my high school senior self would only dream of."For more information on the program, visit CAMP or call UNM CAMP recruiter, Tania Delgadillo at 505-340-4856.