50 Years of Promoting Latina/o Student Access and Success!


The mission of Proyecto Pa’Lante is to increase Latina/o student access to and success in higher education at Northeastern Illinois University. The program does this through a holistic and culturally relevant approach to enhance student learning, intercultural competencies and leadership development through excellent programs and services that create a strong University support network for Latino students transitioning to, and within, Northeastern Illinois University.

Our History

In September of 1972, while they were students at NEIU, Former U.S. Congressman Luis V. Gutierrez and former Senator Miguel Del Valle, along with the Union for Puerto Rican Students (UPRS) student organization and the NEIU Division of Student Affairs for Latino Students founded the Proyecto Pa'Lante program to promote college access and success to students from Chicago's Latino communities.

The name Proyecto Pa’Lante is Spanish and means “Project Forward” in English. Pa’Lante comes from the common Puerto Rican saying Para Adelante, commonly pronounced Pa’Lante, which means “go forward.” The phrase matched the vision of our program’s founders who believed education to be a key part of personal growth and community advancement. 

This new program strived to reach its goals through community outreach that improved access to higher education and provided academic support services to program participants while they transitioned into NEIU. Once at NEIU, program participants received holistic and culturally relevant support during their first semesters on campus. 

Today, Proyecto Pa’Lante maintains its original mission while serving freshman students from all backgrounds during their first years at NEIU as they make the transition from high school to college. The program’s bilingual/bicultural staff continues to provide holistic advising, culturally relevant programs and instruction focused on student success, scholarship opportunities and leadership development. Please watch the video below to learn more about Proyecto Pa’Lante and hear from some of our students and staff members:

Watch: Proyecto Pa’Lante celebrates its 40th anniversary