DALLAS, April 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), today announced that they are accepting applications for the 12th annual "¡Lánzate! / Take Off!" Travel Award program. Prizes for the program will be provided by Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV). Online applications will be accepted through May 13, 2016, at hacu.net. The program is geared toward Latino college students with economic need who pursue higher education at least 200 miles away from home. All applicants must complete an online application including an essay describing their inspiration to pursue a college degree.
Educators and education activists from around the country will form a diverse judging panel this summer to choose the 2016 Travel Award recipients. For more information about the prize and to view the criteria for the 2016 award program, please visit: SWAmedia.
Travel has been provided to 830 students since the program's inception in 2005. 2015 student recipient Gabriela Lopez shared, "Since receiving this award, I was able to spend this past Thanksgiving with my family. I particularly enjoyed the ease of being able to book arrival and departure dates that worked best with my school schedule without any financial limitations. I highly recommend this program to any student that lives far from the people they love and experiences financial barriers when planning a trip to visit them."
"At Southwest Airlines, we are passionate about connecting People to what's important in their lives," said Christine Ortega, Southwest Airlines Manager of Community Affairs & Grassroots. "Through the "¡Lánzate! / Take Off!" Travel Award program, we are proud to help Latino students stay connected to their families. That connection to family is often the difference between staying in school and dropping out. We believe in strengthening the communities we serve and we're proud to play a part in helping these students achieve their dreams."
"As the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities celebrates its 30-year milestone since its founding in San Antonio, Texas, we applaud the Southwest Airlines ¡Lánzate! Travel Award Program for the ongoing commitment to Championing Hispanic Success in Higher Education," said HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores. "It's difficult to be away from family starting a new life in college. The ¡Lánzate! Travel Award Program helps Hispanic families stay connected during the higher education journey."
More than 1,700 Southwest Airlines® roundtrip tickets have been awarded to students across the nation since the program's inception in 2005.
Founded in 1986, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) represents more than 450 colleges and universities committed to Hispanic higher education success in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Latin America and Spain. HACU is the only national association representing existing and emerging Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). The association headquarters are located in San Antonio, Texas, with government relations offices in Washington, D.C., and Sacramento, California. This year, HACU is celebrating 30 years of championing Hispanic education. Information is available at www.hacu.net.
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In its 45th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other air carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 49,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually. Southwest proudly operates a network of 97 destinations across the United States and seven additional countries with more than 3,900 departures a day during peak travel season.
Based on the U.S. Department of Transportation's most recent data, Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded. The Company operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world, the majority of which are equipped with satellite-based WiFi providing gate-to-gate connectivity. That connectivity enables Customers to use their personal devices to view video on-demand movies and television shows, as well as more than 20 channels of free, live TV compliments of our valued Partners. Southwest created Transfarency℠, a philosophy which treats Customers honestly and fairly, and in which low fares actually stay low. Southwest is the only major U.S. airline to offer bags fly free® to everyone (first and second checked pieces of luggage, size and weight limits apply, some airlines may allow free checked bags on select routes or for qualified circumstances), and there are no change fees, though fare differences might apply. In 2014, the airline proudly unveiled a bold new look: Heart. The new aircraft livery, airport experience, and logo, showcase the dedication of Southwest Employees to connect Customers with what's important in their lives.
From its first flights on June 18, 1971, Southwest Airlines launched an era of unprecedented affordability in air travel described by the U.S. Department of Transportation as "The Southwest Effect," a lowering of fares and increase in passenger traffic whenever the carrier enters new markets. With 43 consecutive years of profitability, Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for a triple bottom line approach that contributes to the carrier's performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities they serve, and an overall commitment to efficiency and the planet. The 2014 Southwest Airlines One Report™ can be found at SouthwestOneReport.com.
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SOURCE Southwest Airlines Co.