Central Texas group works to support students amid statewide DEI cuts

As state-funded universities in Texas make decisions on cutting diversity equity and inclusion programs, data shows the number of U.S. Latinx students enrolling in 4-year degree programs is skyrocketing.

Census data shows 20.6 percent of college students identify as Hispanic or Latino and attendance among this demographic has increased by more than 260 percent.

In Central Texas, Con Mi MADRE is an organization making sure these students and their families are supported. 

"Mi niña la mayor me dijo ma, dice que yo quisiera ir yo un día a una de estas universidades y yo como mamá dije mariana cuando va a ser posible, eso es muy caro" Isabel Alvarez Tapia says.  

"My daughter, the oldest, told me, ‘ma, I would like to one day go to one of these universities,’ and as a mother I said, ‘Mariana, when will that be possible? It’s too expensive!’

That’s the mindset Alvarez Tapia had for her daughters when it came to their future.

"Pues uno como hispano, se le hace difícil, cuando va poder hacer estos pagos?" Alvarez Tapia says. 

"Well, as someone who’s Hispanic, it seems difficult, when will we be able to make these payments?"

The Mexican native from the state of San Luis Potosi sees things different now, thanks to the organization Con Mi MADRE, Spanish for ‘with my mother’.

Con Mi MADRE supports dual generations of students and their mothers, with a mission to help moms like Alvarez Tapia make educational dreams a reality.

Her oldest daughter Mariana made it to Northeastern University in Boston and now her middle daughter Karol sifts through acceptance letters as she closes in on her senior year at Del Valle High School. 

"These are all the schools that I've gotten accepted to. I’m still making my decisions so I’m still unsure where I wanna go," Karol says. 

She's gotten at least 10 acceptance letters to study nursing. 

"Ahora nada más le toca tomar la decisión que yo sé que es una de las más difíciles donde va a comenzar a hacer esas raíces más fuertes para su carrera," Alvarez Tapia says. 

"Now, more than anything, she has to make a decision, which I know will be one of the most difficult, where she’s going to start to build strong roots for her career."

Since 1992, Con Mi MADRE has served Central Texas students as a project of the Junior League.

"They have conferences for mothers and daughters, and me and my mom usually like going to those," Karol says. 

"Con Mi MADRE nos da la oportunidad de hacer todo en familia y poder saber porque estamos haciendo todos estos pasos y especialmente con cosas para las universidades," Karol says. 

"Con Mi MADRE gives us the opportunity to do everything as a family and to understand why we’re taking these steps, especially with the universities"

Con Mi MADRE became an independent organization in 2008, expanding statewide.  

"Para mí, es más que nada, una motivación como mamá, de verla a ella con sus logros," Alvarez Tapia says. 

"For me, more than anything, it’s motivation as a mother to see her and her accomplishments"

During a time when state-funded programs to help students like Karol are getting cut, Con Mi MADRE guides families through the maze of the college application process, helping with college campus visit trips, organizing wellness conferences, college and career fairs and even awards thousands of dollars in scholarships for participants. 

"Es difícil un cambio de venir de nuestro país y luchar aquí para un futuro de nuestras hijas, pero una es imposible," Alvarez Tapia says. 

"It’s difficult, the change of coming to a new country and fighting here for a future for our daughters, but nothing is impossible." 

"It's like everything that I do. I want to do it for them. All my family has put in something for us to be better, since my parents started off from like nothing since they got here," Karol says.

It’s proof nothing can be turned into something with a strong community to help reach your dreams. 

The organization has a 93% college retention rate. If you’re interested in learning more about the organization, visit their website here