Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Churches Put Stock in Latino Education

A new initiative by the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference encourages churches to give children money toward college upon baptism or christening.
Source: Flickr/ Rodrigo Pizarro (CC BY-SA 2.0)

What if a kid’s first Bible came with a little money for college? Churches across America are taking this approach to promote education among the youngest demographic of Hispanics. 

The National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the largest Hispanic evangelical association in the United States representing more than 40,000 churches, launched a “Becas and Bibles” initiative earlier this month to address the Latino achievement gap and high-school drop-out rate. (Becas means “scholarships” in Spanish.)

The organization is encouraging churches to give children seed money for scholarships, along with a Bible, upon baptism or christening. Parents are directed to for education resources, including information on the Common Core standards and steps to help their kid make it to college.

In a recent article by the Christian Broadcasting Network, an NHCLC spokesman emphasized the need for Christians to earn college degrees.   

“This is a priority,” the Rev. Tony Suarez told CBN News. “We’re salt and light. We’re ambassadors for the kingdom of God. We need to finish our education. We need to not only be preachers and missionaries and evangelists but we need to become lawyers and doctors and governors and senators.”

But many Latinos face significant challenges, he said. “I think some of it has do to with the immigration issue. Some of it has to do with parents that have been deported, single parent mothers raising their kids. The sons have to drop out to work because the father is missing at home. Some of them, they have never had a family member that has graduated from high school so there is no role model to look to.”