About 2020 Examples of Excelencia Finalists

This year’s finalists for 2020 Examples of Excelencia provide a variety of strategies intentionally serving Latino students and their communities. Each program finalist below provides a short program description and evidence of effectiveness displaying what works for Latino students.

In September, a full description of each program will be featured in our Growing What Works database– the only national online, searchable database for institutional leaders, funders, and policymakers interested in identifying what works for Latino students.

Return to 2020 Examples of Excelencia Finalists Main Page



Alamo Colleges District (TX)
Institutional Change

AlamoADVISE provides community college students, a significant number who are Latino, with a personalized academic/career pathway toward graduation through the support of a certified advisor. AlamoADVISE has decreased time to degree completion for its students from 4.6 to 3.9 years. In academic year 2017-2018, 26% of program participants graduated within 4 years in comparison to only 9% of program participants in 2005-2006.

Howard Community College (MD)
First Year Support; Parental/Family Engagement

Ambiciones provides pathways to college completion for Latino students by helping high school students and their families navigate the Howard Community College (HCC) entrance process. From fall 2018 to spring 2019, Ambiciones participants persisted at a rate of 83% compared to only 79% for non-participating, first-time HCC Latino students, and 67% for all HCC Latino students.

San Antonio College Honors Academy Program
San Antonio College (TX)
Honors; College Prep

The San Antonio Honors Academy Program provides underserved community college students—a majority of whom are Latino—honors-designated core courses, comprehensive academic services, one-on-one guidance by dedicated professors/advisors, scholarship and transfer support. The Academy seeks to increase the number of underserved students who receive an associate degree and transfer to a four-year university. In Fall 2019, 42% of program participants graduated in 3 years compared to only 28% of non-program participants.

Mi Casa Es Su Casa
Lone Star College-North Harris (TX)
Institutional Change; Faculty Change

Mi Casa Es Su Casa connects Hispanic community college students to the local campus community, acclimates them to the rigors of academic life, helps them succeed for the duration of their college career, and prepares them to achieve in college and beyond. In Fall 2019, 68% of Latino program participants persisted fall first to second year compared to the institutional average of 50% and overall program average of 60%.

School of Science STEM Research Institute
Miami Dade College (FL)
STEM; Undergraduate Research

The School of Science STEM Research Institute provides Hispanic and other underrepresented minority community college STEM students high-quality, early research experiences to help them acquire knowledge and skills important to their academic success and competitiveness in the STEM workforce of the 21st century. Program participants are three times more likely than STEM, non-program participants and non-STEM, non-program participants to graduate within three years.

The Math Tutorial Lab
Santa Barbara City College (CA)
STEM; Discipline/Subject

The Math Tutorial Lab provides a computer lab for community college students to receive individual tutoring for all math and statistics courses through faculty and peer tutors. The Lab serves as a transformational space where collaboration, culturally relevant approaches, academic, and social support empowers diverse learners, a significant number who are Latino, to achieve their academic goals. As of Fall 2019, when compared to Latino non-program participants, Latino program participants passed 23% more of their math courses at the end of the semester.



Access College & Excel (ACE) Program
The University of Texas at San Antonio (TX)
First Year Support; Learning Community

The Access College & Excel (ACE) Program recruits and supports ambitious high school students from predominantly Latino, inner-city schools to successfully transition to college and obtain a bachelor’s degree. From fall 2017 to fall 2018, 83% of program participants were retained in the first year compared to only 78% of Latino, non-program participants.

Arizona’s Science, Engineering and Math Scholars (ASEMS) Program
University of Arizona (AZ)
STEM; Undergraduate Research

Arizona’s Science, Engineering and Math Scholars (ASEMS) Program provides support services toward graduation for underrepresented, majority Latino, undergraduate STEM majors. Of Fall 2015 first-time, Latino freshmen, 93% were retained to their fourth year and 81% remained in STEM majors.

Center for Educational Partnerships
California State University, Fullerton (CA)
Community Partnerships/Collective Impact; College Prep

The Center for Educational Partnerships provides opportunities for Latino middle and high school students to successfully progress onto college and supports undergraduate students through postbaccalaureate preparation. The Center leads campus efforts through four intersegmental partnerships, seven federal grants, and five initiatives with non-profit community-based organizations. In 2018-19, the Center provided more than 7,000 hours of postsecondary exposure and college planning workshops to 2,016 tenth graders and nearly 3,000 hours of tutoring. 97% of 2019 graduating Upward Bound scholars and 85% of ETS scholars enrolled in a postsecondary institution immediately after high school graduation compared to only 66% of CA graduating high school students in 2018.

Compact Scholars Program
San Diego State University (CA)
Community Partnerships/Collective Impact; Pathway/Pipeline

The Compact Scholars program is the postsecondary component of Compact for Success—a partnership between the Sweetwater Union High School District and San Diego State University to promote higher graduation rates for Sweetwater District students, a majority of whom are Latino. CSP provides undergraduate students academic, social support, and the opportunity to cultivate a sense of identity in connection to their academic work and community. Of Latino program participants, 69% graduate college within six years compared to 65% of Latino non-program participants and 54% of Latino students nationally.

Personalized Achievement Contract (PACT) Program
Mercy College (NY)

The Personalized Achievement Contract (PACT) Program provides undergraduate students—a majority of whom are Latino—a pathway towards graduation through mentoring provided during the length of students’ college career. Each year, students are paired with a professional mentor to work together on topics essential to student success including choosing the right major, navigating requirements, registering for classes, tracking academic progress, career exploration, and financial literacy. As of 2019, the 6-year graduation rate for Latino program participants is 42%. Prior to PACT, Latino students had a six-year graduation rate of 27%.

UAlbany Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)
University at Albany, State University of New York (NY)
First Year Support; Summer Bridge

The UAlbany Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) provides disadvantaged undergraduate students, a significant number who are Latino, college access; support; and financial assistance to successfully persist and graduate. For 2018 - 2019, 97% of Latino program participants were retained in their first year compared to the institutional average of 79%. As of Fall 2019, 68% of Latino program participants graduated in six years compared to 61% of Latino non-program participants.



Latinx Leadership Initiative (LLI)
Boston College School of Social Work (MA)
Career/Workforce; Pathway/Pipeline

The Latinx Leadership Initiative trains and supports Latino, bilingual MSW and PhD students to increase the number of Latino social workers in the U.S. and develop social work leaders equipped to work effectively with the Latino community. The Initiative has a network of 148 Latino alumni across 23 states that support current students as advisors and mentors. Of program graduates, 100% have secured full-time positions and many are now in leadership positions informing practice and serving their community.

Masters in School Psychology
The University of Texas at San Antonio (TX)

The Masters in School Psychology Program supports Latino graduate students to increase the number of Latino school psychologists and help students effectively serve the growing number of Latino students in U.S. public schools. For year 2018-2019, 60% of program graduates were Latino and 51% of new program participants enrolled were Latino.

Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community (PRIME-LC)
University of California, Irvine (CA)
Career/Workforce; Health

The Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community (PRIME-LC) trains and supports Latino, bilingual medical students at the University of California, Irvine to develop culturally competent physicians equipped to work with, address, and advocate for the healthcare needs of Latino communities. Nearly 70% of PRIME-LC students identify as Latino and 68% of program graduates work in community clinics, public hospitals, or academic centers which see a large share of patients from impoverished Latino communities.



College Success Program
Hyde Square Task Force, Inc. (MA)
First Year Support

The College Success Program helps students—a majority of whom are Latino— transition into college, persist, and graduate through one-on-one coaching beginning senior year of high school and ending at college graduation. In 2019, 100% of program graduates enrolled in college compared to 74% of 2018 non-program, high school graduates. Of program alumni from 2012 – 2018, 63% have either graduated or are still actively pursuing a degree.

Project GRAD Houston (TX)
College Prep; Parental/Family Engagement

GRADCafé provides bilingual college access, success, and career services to local Latino students and families through group forums and one-on-one, walk-in support at accessible community venues. Of program participants, 51% are either completing college or remain enrolled at a rate that is nearly double the rate of their peers throughout Texas.

Scholar Program
Generation Hope (DC)
Mentoring; Scholarship

The Scholar Program empowers teen parents—a majority of whom are Latino—to attain college, professional success, and economic stability by providing mentoring, case management, career readiness support, mental health services, and emergency funding. Of Latino program participants, 59% graduate college within six years and 90% persist through first year of college. In comparison, nationally, only 50% of Latino college students graduate within six years and 71% of students persist through their first year of college.

Noble College Access and Success Program
Noble Network of Charter Schools (IL)
College Prep

The College Access and Persistence Program facilitates Latino high school students’ transition to college during grades 9 to 12 to encourage college matriculation and college completion. Of Latino program participants from the Class of 2019, 95% were admitted to at least one 4-year college and 90% of these participants enrolled directly into college.

University Crossroads
The University of Texas at Arlington (TX)
Community Partnerships/Collective Impact; College Prep

University Crossroads provides Latino, first- and second-generation 6th - 12th grade students academic and support programs that academically, financially, socially, and culturally prepare them for educational pursuits beyond high school. From 2016 to 2020, University Crossroads has served more than 40,000 students and substantially increased the number of students applying for financial aid, receiving college acceptances, enrolling in college, and graduating from college.