SAN ANTONIO - Representative Joaquin Castro joined Excelencia in Education at Café College here today to release a new research-based fact sheet, "Latino College Completion: Texas," and to unveil "Graduation Texas: Engage, Advise, Retain, Graduate," a new project by ACT, Inc. to increase college degree completion for south Texas students.  Both are part of the initiative Ensuring America's Future by Increasing Latino College Completion, a collaborative effort among 60 national partners led by Excelencia in Education. 

"While some in Austin hope to slash education in the name of so-called fiscal responsibility, the partners assembled here all understand that our future economic success depends on investing in education and finding new ways for Latinos and for all Texans to succeed beyond high school," said Castro, who is a partner in the Ensuring America's Future initiative.  "Texas has the second largest Latino population of any state and nearly half of our K through 12 students are Latino, creating both the opportunity and a fierce sense of urgency to serve these children better by ensuring their future success in college."

The fact sheet revealed the following:

  • Between 2006 and 2008, the number of Latinos who earned undergraduate degrees in Texas grew by seven percent, while other groups increased by just four percent.
  • Among the top 10 states enrolling Latinos, Texas had one of largest increase in degrees conferred to Latinos over three years.
  • However, college completion among Latino students in Texas still lags behind their White counterparts in several measures, including a gap between Latinos and Whites of 21 total undergraduate degrees and certificates awarded per 1,000 adults aged 18 to 44 relative to the adult population with no college degree.
  • In Texas, 33 percent of working-age adults have college degrees, but only 16 percent of working-age Latino adults have college degrees.

"The data is compelling; the relative youth, growth, and current levels of educational attainment among Latinos show that our nation will not return to world leadership in college completion without a tactical plan focused on increasing Latino degree attainment," said Deborah Santiago, co-founder of Excelencia in Education and its vice president for policy and research.  "Nationally, Latinos will have to almost triple the number of degrees earned currently to reach the goal by 2020.  As the state with the second highest proportion of Latinos, Texas is vital to America's future."

Following a briefing and discussion of the new data by Excelencia's Texas-based partners, ACT, announced its new project "Graduation Texas" to increase college degree completion through early identification and counseling to first-in -their families college freshman.

"We are able to launch this important project for Texas students thanks to Representative Castro's leadership on school counseling issues and the synergy resulting from Ensuring America's Future partners working together to improve Latino college completion," said Karen Pennell, ACT assistant vice president and regional manager.  "We know that identifying students during their freshman year and counseling them effectively will put them on the path to college completion.  The data released today also makes it clear that these counseling services will be especially important to help ensure success for Latino students."

"Excelencia is pleased to work with ACT on this new Texas project and excited to help launch it in San Antonio," said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education.  "This is another example of Ensuring America's Future partners coming together to build and implement tactical programs and long-term strategies to improve Latino college completion."

Excelencia in Education's initiative Ensuring America's Future by Increasing Latino College Completion is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Lumina Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation.  

To download the fact sheet "Latino College Completion: Texas," visit

Excelencia in Education is a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate Latino student success in higher education.


Ensuring America's Future by Increasing Latino College Completion

Texas Partners

Representative Joaquin Castro

Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities

Intercultural Development Research Association

Project Grad USA


University of Texas, Brownsville/Texas Southmost College

University of Texas, El Paso

University of Texas System



Release Date
Tue, 06/21/2011 - 9:00pm