Christian Brothers University commits $12 million to helping Latino students

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Brick by brick, Christian Brothers University is building, not only its campus, but the futures of its students.

With a growing Hispanic population throughout the Memphis community, CBU has pledged to stay invested.

"CBU is committing $12 million over the next seven years to launch the next phase of our Latino Student Success programs," University President John Smarrelli announced Tuesday.

Much of that money would go towards providing scholarships for undocumented Latinos.

"Eighty percent of our graduates stay in the Memphis community," Smarrelli said. "So, we're really looking at this as a catalyst for change."

While immigration remained a controversial topic, Dr. John King, the Deputy Secretary of Education for the U.S. Department of Education said undocumented youth deserved opportunities.

"We can't afford as a country to say that these students, because they're undocumented, because of their families' immigration status, we're going to leave them behind," he said. "We need them to be prepared to be successful."

A White House initiative aimed at helping Hispanics recognized CBU for its efforts.

The grant money would benefit more than 100 Hispanic students throughout their four years at the university.

For a population that often feels overlooked in Memphis, Dr. King said it sends a clear message.

"I can be successful, that model for my younger siblings, for my neighborhood, for my community," he said.