WASHINGTON, D.C. [CapitalWirePR] - Excelencia in Education (Excelencia) has received support from Lumina Foundation to further the national initiative, Ensuring America’s Future (EAF) by Increasing Latino College Completion. The $400,000 grant will be used to advance a growing collaboration of more than 50 organizations partnering across the country in support of a policy roadmap to increase Latino college completion. The roadmap will be released in March 2011 to inform and drive large-scale efforts at the campus, state, and national levels to better enroll and graduate Hispanic college students.

Excelencia’s EAF initiative leverages the Federal Administration's goal and the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Lumina Foundation to restore America to the top rank of international competitiveness as the nation with the highest percentage of college graduates. The United States has slipped to the 9th ranked country measured by those college-educated according to recent remarks by officials at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC.

In response, Ensuring America’s Future provides analysis and critical insight to meeting the challenge of building a more college-educated Latino community. Benchmarking Latino College Completion to Meet National Goals: 2010 to 2020 provides national and state data and will be updated each year. Federal Policy and Latino College Completion analyzes current federal policies that can impact Latino college completion and is the first of a proposed series analyzing policy at multiple levels.

“Accelerating Latino college attainment is crucial to the success of the nation. A public policy road map will help set expectations, support higher education and better inform the larger community’s civic engagement. Coordinating stakeholders, benchmarking Latino college completion and articulating the impact of current policies must be undertaken to move the needle and change America’s trajectory. We know what needs to be done and appreciate Lumina’s leadership on college completion. Their support of Excelencia’s strategy to better serve Latino students will ultimately grow America’s human capital,” said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education. “We are gratified by this vote of confidence from the Lumina Foundation, in support of increasing Latino college completion.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Latino young adults are less likely to have earned an associate degree or higher than other young adults. In 2008, eight percent of Latinos 18 to 24 years-of-age had earned a degree, compared to 14 percent of all young adults. Latino adults, 25 years and over, were also less likely to have earned an associate degree or higher than other adults, with 19 percent of Latinos earning a degree, compared with 29 percent of blacks, 39 percent of whites, and 59 percent of Asians.

“That disparity simply cannot be allowed to endure,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation for Education. “Not only is that achievement gap fundamentally unfair to the individuals involved, it’s also unsustainable for the nation as a whole. If we hope to prosper in the global economy and maintain a stable and secure society, we must significantly increase college-attainment rates among our Latino citizens.”

Census projections estimate that Latinos will be 22 percent of the nation’s college-age population by 2020.

Excelencia in Education accelerates Latino student success in higher education by linking research, policy, and practice and by promoting education policies and institutional practices that support Latino student achievement. A national, not-for-profit organization, Excelencia is building a network of results-oriented educators and policymakers to address the U.S. economy’s need for a highly educated workforce and engaged civic leadership. For more information, visit: www.EdExcelencia.org.

Lumina Foundation for Education, an Indianapolis-based private foundation, is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college—especially 21st century students: low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners. Lumina’s goal is to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina pursues this goal in three ways: by identifying and supporting effective practice, through public policy advocacy, and by using our communications and convening power to build public will for change. For more information, log on to www.luminafoundation.org.

Release Date
Mon, 12/06/2010 - 9:00pm