The Council for Adult Experiential Learning Unveils Major Initiative to Support Hispanic-Serving Institutions, Latino Students

August 28, 2018

For information contact:
Brian Sorenson,

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning Unveils Major Initiative to
Support Hispanic Serving Institutions, Latino Students

Partnership with Excelencia in Education, backed by foundation funding,
will spread project reach to HSIs throughout the country

Chicago, IL – The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), in partnership with Excelencia in Education (Excelencia) announced a new effort to assist Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) as they enhance their support for working, adult Latino students. Adult Learner 360 Academy for HSIs is a three-year project, funded by grants from The Kresge Foundation, Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation and the Greater Texas Foundation, that will reach 15 HSIs to improve higher education outcomes for their rapidly growing populations of Latino students. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, from 2007 to 2017 the percentage of younger Latino students who earned a college credential increased by 9.4 percent. Adult Latino students face unique challenges, like work and family responsibilities, that can hinder degree or credential attainment. Only 22.7 percent of Hispanics aged 25 or older have attained an associate degree or higher, compared to 42.8 percent of white students. As an increasing number of today’s careers demand degrees and credentials, this disparity is having disastrous consequences for career advancement prospects for Latinos.

The initiative will employ CAEL’s Adult Learner 360 diagnostic tool to identify areas for improving services to the adult learner at the 15 selected HSIs. The Adult Learner 360 employs a student survey and a survey of faculty and staff, identifying disconnects and noting areas where institutions can improve their services for adult students. In addition, the HSIs will receive professional development for staff, access to CAEL tools and research, and technical research from CAEL and Excelencia in Education (Excelencia) as the institutions implement plans for action to enhance their adult student support.

“CAEL is committed to removing barriers that prevent adult Latino students from educational attainment,” said CAEL President Marie A. Cini. “We are proud to work with Excelencia in the service of HSIs as they strengthen their adult learner experience. I’d like to especially thank The Kresge Foundation, Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation and the Greater Texas Foundation for their support of this important effort.”

“Less than one in four Latino adults has a college degree,” said Deborah A. Santiago, CEO at Excelencia ,“The opportunity to partner with CAEL and institutions committed to improve their efforts with Latino adult students advances our shared national goals of accelerating Latino student success for a better educated workforce and citizenry.”

Each foundation has committed grant support for HSIs within the regions they serve.

“We believe HSIs need support to focus on the particular needs of adult Latino students, whose postsecondary experiences are different from students transitioning directly from high school to college,” said Caroline Altman Smith, deputy director of The Kresge Foundation’s Education Program. “We’re thrilled to see the continued partnership between CAEL and Excelencia.”

“Adults need access to the same higher education outcomes that younger students need, but it’s vital that our higher education offerings reflect the reality that adult students have unique needs,” said Amy Kerwin, vice president of community investments at Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation. “We’re proud to support work that will help HSIs reflect those needs for its adult students.”

“Greater Texas Foundation supports efforts to ensure all Texas students are prepared for, have access to, persist in, and complete a postsecondary education,” said Sue McMillin, president and CEO of Greater Texas Foundation. “Just as it is critical to focus on supporting traditional age students, colleges must also ensure adult learners receive appropriate supports as they work toward their postsecondary goals. We appreciate the opportunity to partner in this national initiative so Texas colleges and students may benefit from the strategic partnership between CAEL and Excelencia focused on supporting adult learners.”

This initiative furthers CAEL’s commitment to adult Latino students. In 2014, CAEL published a study in partnership with Excelencia, Random Access: The Latino Experience with Prior Learning Assessment, which highlighted positive academic outcomes for Latino students who take advantage of prior learning assessment, a method of earning college credit for demonstrate prior learning.

About the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)
Founded in 1974, CAEL is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that assists adults with their educational endeavors, finding practical ways to help them earn college credit for learning acquired through life and work experiences toward the completion of a postsecondary degree. CAEL, an affiliate of Strada Education NetworkSM, works with the public sector, private sector industries and higher education institutions to ensure that adult students receive the most efficient training and education to occupy a meaningful professional place in a 21st century economy. For more information, visit

About Excelencia in Education
Excelencia in Education accelerates Latino student success in higher education by promoting Latino student achievement, conducting analysis to inform educational policies, and advancing institutional practices while collaborating with those committed and ready to meet our mission. Launched in 2004 in the nation’s capital, 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:

About Great Lakes
Knowing that education has the power to change lives for the better, Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation was established as a nonprofit group focused on a single objective: helping students nationwide prepare for and succeed in postsecondary education and student loan repayment. As a leading federal student loan guarantor, we provide information, tools and counseling to 3 million borrowers nationwide. Our group’s earnings support one of the largest and most respected education philanthropy programs in the country. Since 2006, we have committed nearly $260 million in grant funding to promote higher education access and completion for students of color, students from low-income households and first-generation students. For additional information, visit

About The Kresge Foundation
The Kresge Foundation was founded in 1924 to promote human progress. Today, Kresge fulfills that mission by building and strengthening pathways to opportunity for low-income people in America’s cities, seeking to dismantle structural and systemic barriers to equality and justice. Using a full array of grant, loan, and other investment tools, Kresge invests more than $160 million annually to foster economic and social change. For more information visit

About Greater Texas Foundation
GTF supports efforts to ensure all Texas students are prepared for, have access to, persist in, and complete a postsecondary education. As a result of its work, GTF will help create greater connections among regional systems that support the ability of all students to succeed. By focusing on issues of statewide importance, GTF will also highlight innovative solutions to postsecondary preparation, access, persistence, and success across Texas. Since its 2001 inception, GTF has approved more than $77 million in grants to support Texas students. For more about the Greater Texas Foundation, visit



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