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Applications are due Friday, June 5, 2009.


Dallas – April 13, 2009 – Southwest Airlines, in conjunction with the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), announced today the opening of “Dándole Alas a Tu Éxito/Giving Flight to Your Success,” its annual education travel award program. This program starts today with online applications at accepted through June 5, 2009. A panel of judges comprised of college professors and education advocates from coast to coast will gather in the summer to select the students who will receive free travel to their colleges and universities.

Each student is eligible to receive from one to four tickets which the student or an immediate family member can use in the Fall to travel to/from a college or university. The travel tickets are awarded to undergraduate and graduate Hispanic students with socio-economic need who journey away from home to pursue higher education. All of the participants must submit an essay explaining why they deserve the travel award and what inspires them to pursue a college degree. To view the criteria for the 2009 award program, please click here.

“For more than twenty years, HACU has dedicated efforts to ensure Hispanic success in higher education,” said Antonio Flores, President and CEO of HACU, the only national education organization for Hispanic-Serving Institutions. “HACU is proud to partner with Southwest Airlines, for the fifth year, on the ‘Dándole Alas a Tu Éxito/Giving Flight to Your Success’ travel award program. During these difficult economic times, these travel awards are essential to many students currently enrolled in college.”

Travel Award Recipient Elizabeth Haro

With more than 1,000 applicants in the last four years, “Lánzate/Take Off” is a successful educational program that serves underprivileged students, providing free travel for them and their families to maximize their potential and create opportunities for growth.

“The ‘Lánzate/Take Off’ travel award allows a student to go home during Christmas break or allows a parent to see their child at graduation,” said Christine Ortega, Southwest Airlines Corporate Community Affairs Manager. “This contact removes barriers and gives each student more confidence to pursue their dreams of higher education without worrying about the family’s economic hardships,” says Ortega.

HACU, which has its national headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, represents approximately 450 colleges and universities, including Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), which collectively serve more than two-thirds of all Hispanic higher education students in the United States and Puerto Rico. HACU’s international membership includes leading higher education institutions in Latin America and Europe.

After nearly 38 years of service, Southwest Airlines continues to offer the best value in airline travel, allowing Customers the opportunity to travel nonstop throughout the country at a very low fare. Southwest does not charge fees for the first or second checked bag, or for snacks or changes in travel itineraries. Since 1987, the airline has maintained the lowest ratio of customer complaints to enplanements as published in the Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report. Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV), the nation’s largest carrier in terms of domestic passengers enplaned, currently serves 65 cities in 33 states. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates more than 3,300 flights a day and has more than 35,000 employees systemwide.

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