HACER collage winners

January 27, 2021

McDonald’s is Awarding $500K in Scholarships to 100 Hispanic Students Through “HACER® More”

Students should apply for the 2021 HACER® National Scholarship by Feb. 3

One hundred college students coast-to-coast are starting their semesters with greater assurance as recipients of the McDonald’s “HACER® More” Scholarship. This scholarship program is an extension of McDonald’s annual HACER® National Scholarship and is providing assistance to Hispanic students who are still facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic. Through HACER, McDonald’s is awarding $1 million in financial assistance to 130 students this academic year.

“We are honored to continue helping Hispanic students stay on track with their education journey, despite the financial hardships they are facing,” said Michelle Suarez, a Pennsylvania McDonald’s franchisee, McDonald’s Hispanic Marketing Committee Franchisee Lead and HACER® scholarship committee judge. “McDonald’s is celebrating this year’s recipients and their accomplishments and encourages future college students to apply for their opportunity to receive this scholarship as well.”

With many students and their families continuing to face education-related financial stress, McDonald’s is inviting students to apply for the 2021 HACER® National Scholarship by the Feb. 3 deadline. Additionally, to help students take the often-daunting first steps in applying, McDonald’s has teamed up with Latina game changers—“Gentefied” actress and writer, Julissa Calderon; actress and dancer, Jeanine Mason; and entrepreneur and founder of “Hija de Tu Madre,” Patty Delgado—who will use their voices to encourage students to pursue their educational dreams.

Michelle Suarez recently asked Calderon, Mason and Delgado a few questions to get their perspective and advice for college-bound students and prospective HACER applicants.

Michelle (MS): First, I’d like to congratulate each of you on all of your success. How has education played a role in helping you get to where you are now?

●         Julissa: Education has played such a major part in my journey. I received a Bachelor of Arts in theatre, which jump started my career right after I graduated. I also received a degree in telecommunications production, where I learned many things that I’d use when I was a digital content creator. The opportunities I received in college led me to meet my management team and land me my first TV credit. As a first-generation student, education has definitely been a solid foundation for me and has contributed so much to my career.

●         Jeanine: My college education has informed everything about my life, career, and relationships. It has prepared me in more ways than I could ever account for and has made me a better artist by broadening my perspective, deepening my understanding and inspiring my imagination. I'm a more curious, empathetic and knowledgeable advocate for myself and my characters because of my education. 

●         Patty: Higher education has played a huge part in my current role as CEO of Hija De Tu Madre. While I did not major in business, my religious studies degree helped me develop a better appreciation for my culture and to dig deeper into what makes my Latinx identity so unique and special. My path to becoming a designer and entrepreneur has been very non-traditional, but my college experience has been instrumental.

MS: As a Latina, what was your college experience like? Do you have any tips for other Latinas as they prepare for this new chapter in their life?

●         Julissa: My college experience was amazing! I did experience culture shock, but I learned so many things from different people and cultures that I hadn't seen growing up. My advice to any Latina preparing for this chapter is to let go and be open,  especially if you are going away for school. There are going to be so many new experiences with people and surroundings, but these times are so pivotal, and they'll make you into an amazing woman.

●         Jeanine: My college experience was a dream! I found so many of my "forever people" who I wouldn't have encountered otherwise. It broadened my world view of our Hispanic community outside that of my immediate Cuban American community in Miami. As far as advice, I would say find your people! This is what college is for. You will have friends and support systems all over the world.

MS: Why do you feel it's important for younger generations to pursue higher education? 

●         Julissa: It’s important because it's an opportunity most of our parents didn't have. It's the chance to give back to your grandparents and parents by showing them their efforts of coming to this country for a better life did not go in vain. You become smarter, wiser, and you get to graduate with a degree you truly worked for. You get to pursue whatever you want and then go out into the world and land a job. Pursuing higher education gets you that much closer to the career of your choice and the life of your dreams.

●         Patty: It’s crucial for Latinx to be seen in spaces that haven’t always been the easiest for us to enter. In doing so, we’re creating representation and opening the door, making college less of a barrier for future generations.

MS: At McDonald’s, our purpose is to feed and foster communities, which includes breaking down barriers to opportunity so we can increase diverse talent and leaders like you across industries worldwide. What would you say to students who see the cost of higher education as a barrier to achieving their dreams?

●         Jeanine: That's a very unfortunate but true reality. This is why I'm so passionate about spreading the world that McDonald's HACER® National Scholarship is here to help make education attainable for whoever is bold enough to go for it. Find the helpers, exhaust every option possible in addressing your specific barriers and know that it is all going to be worth it.

●         Patty: The financial concerns around the cost of higher education are very valid. I personally would not have been able to pursue college without financial support from scholarships, grants and loans. That’s why I am thrilled that McDonald’s is making college less of a barrier for my community with resources like the HACER® National Scholarship.

MS: What is your message to this generation of Hispanic students thinking about college?

●         Julissa: My message would be to stop thinking about it and just do it! Go get the knowledge to empower you, your family, and your future grandchildren. To continue to better ourselves and those around us is all our ancestors ever wanted. So, dream big and go for it! Apply to the school of your dreams! Make your mami and papi proud, but most importantly go make yourself proud. I know you can do it! 

●         Jeanine: I am proud of you. By considering higher education, you are recognizing how valuable your unique gift is to this world. I know it's intimidating, particularly if you are the first in your family. But you can do hard things, that's the legacy of our community. And this powerful decision is going to positively affect not only you and your immediate family, but generations to come.

●         Patty: If you are considering college, please honor your curiosity! Ask questions, do your own research and ask for help! Surround yourself with organizations, peers, and professionals that can guide you and provide answers. Exploring is the first step into going to college, you’re off to a great start!

The McDonald’s HACER® National Scholarship is one of the largest programs committed to providing college scholarships and resources for Hispanics, having awarded $32.5 million to more than 17,000 college students pursuing their higher education dreams.

The HACER® National Scholarship is accepting applications for the upcoming 2021-2022 academic year through Feb. 3. Hispanic college-bound high school seniors are encouraged to visit mcdonalds.com/hacer to apply and receive additional college resources.

About McDonald’s USA Community Efforts

The McDonald’s HACER® National Scholarship is just one of many company initiatives created to serve up bright futures and provide opportunity for education and skills in the communities McDonald’s serves. These efforts also include the HACER® Education Tour, which provides information to navigate the college application process, the  Black & Positively Golden Mentors Program,  which pairs industry leaders with up-and-coming changemakers in the same fields, hosting webinars such as Classroom Convos which focus on topics currently impacting Asian and Pacific Islander American students, and the Archways to Opportunity program for restaurant crew which provides educational resources to eligible employees at participating U.S. restaurants. Together, with franchisees, we are creating opportunities for all to feed and foster our communities.

About McDonald’s USA

McDonald’s USA, LLC, serves a variety of menu options made with quality ingredients to nearly 25 million customers every day. Ninety-five percent of McDonald’s 14,000 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by businessmen and women. For more information, visit www.mcdonalds.com, or follow us on Twitter @McDonalds and Facebook www.facebook.com/mcdonalds