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Spotlight: Éxito Escolar: Success in School

As you plop down to relax in front of the TV this Friday afternoon, say, around 6:00 p.m., tune in to Channel 14 (KDTV), the Univision affiliate in the Bay Area. In the glory of all of the lights and cameras, you’ll find UCOP’s very own Ricardo Vázquez educating parents and students on higher education issues—in Spanish.

In partnership with the Bay Area’s Univision affiliate, UCOP produces a weekly television segment titled “Éxito Escolar” or “Success in School.”  The segment – which airs live during the 6:00 p.m. newscast and is taped for broadcast at 11 p.m. – is aimed at giving people in the Spanish speaking community the tools and knowledge they need to gain admission to college.

“As California grows more culturally, linguistically and economically diverse, the ability to communicate effectively with these different constituencies is more important than ever,” said Vázquez, the director of admissions and ethnic media communications at UCOP. “This is especially true for UC, given our diverse student population that includes more low-income minority students than any other top public or private institution in the country.”

Link recently caught up with Vázquez to find out more about the program.

Why is UC’s partnership with Univision important?

As a public institution, the University of California has a responsibility to reach out to all communities across the state. It’s particularly important to reach out to Latino families. Recent studies have shown many Latino parents lack essential information about what their children need to gain admission into college. And the knowledge deficit is even greater among lower-income and first-generation immigrants who also face language barriers.

Through Univision we’re able to reach over 70,000 Latinos in the Bay Area each week.

What topics are covered on the Éxito Escolar program?

We began this partnership in August of 2009 and so far we’ve covered topics such as the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, which is UC’s guarantee to cover the fees of students with family incomes under $70,000, borrowing and student loans, admission requirements, and the increase of student fees. Through this program we educate them on Spanish resources available to them, such as publications and UC’s Spanish-language telephone hotline.

Tell us about the Spanish-language telephone hotline.

UCOP has a Spanish-language hotline that we advertise heavily and include in our outreach efforts. The hotline generates numerous calls from parents interested in getting UC publications or more information on admission and financial aid policies.

Does Éxito Escolar reach beyond the Bay Area?

Yes, the program is also distributed to Univision’s affiliates in Fresno and Sacramento, areas where there are large concentrations of Latinos.

What other minority outreach have you done?

For the past seven years, I’ve been overseeing a statewide multimedia campaign to help educate California’s growing Latino population about UC. I also spend a good amount of my time speaking about higher education at Latino community events. I address topics such as admission requirements, financial aid opportunities and other crucial issues.

In the past I’ve also written bi-monthly columns on education for La Opinión, a Los Angeles-based Spanish-language daily with the largest circulation in the nation.

Before joining UC, I worked as a journalist for CNN Headline News, Univision, Telemundo,, and several other media outlets.

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