Excelencia in Education Announces What Works for Latino Student Success Through the 2021 Finalists

September 9, 2021

Contact: Media@EdExcelencia.org

21 programs receive national recognition for asset-based approaches to serving Latinos

Washington, D.C. – Excelencia in Education, the nation’s premier authority on accelerating Latino student success in higher education, announced today 21 evidence-based programs across the U.S. as finalists for the 2021 Examples of Excelencia.

Examples of Excelencia was created in 2005 and is the country’s only national effort to identify, aggregate and promote evidence-based practices improving Latino student success in higher education. Even in these challenging times, it is a powerful reminder that there are many in our community working diligently to intentionally serve our students.

"Examples of Excelencia identifies evidence-based programs that show, with intentionality and impact, what it means to truly serve Latino students and not just enroll them."
- Deborah Santiago, Co-founder and CEO, Excelencia in Education

This year, Excelencia received 145 program submissions representing 23 states and Puerto Rico. The 21 finalists will be featured online as well as in Excelencia’s Growing What Works Database—the only national online, searchable database for institutional leaders, funders, and policymakers interested in identifying what works for Latino students.

On October 28, 2021, four of the 21 finalists will be announced as the 2021 Examples of Excelencia and recognized at the annual Celebración de Excelencia. The national announcement of these four programs will be held virtually at the online Celebración de Excelencia.

Excelencia increases awareness about the positive impact of the Latino population and programs that serve them well. Examples of Excelencia inspires leaders to implement innovations that can serve all students.”
– Sarita Brown, Co-founder and President, Excelencia in Education

The 2021 Examples of Excelencia finalists are:

  • Ambiciones at Howard Community College (MD)
  • Austin Community College Guided Pathways Advising through Coaching at Austin Community College (TX)
  • California State University, Fullerton
  • California State University, Northridge
  • EDGE/plEDGE at College of the Desert (CA)
  • The Hostos Community College Joint Dual Engineering Degree Program with The City College of New York's Grove School of Engineering at CUNY, Hostos Community College (NY)
  • Miami Dade College School of Science STEM Research Institute at Miami Dade College (FL)
  • Transitional Bilingual Learning Community (TBLC) at Harry S. Truman College-Chicago (IL)
  • University of California, Merced


  • Cardinal First at North Central College (IL)
  • FIU Connect4Success at Florida International University (FL)
  • GANAS Program at Portland State University (OR)
  • The Gateway Project at Florida International University (FL)
  • Mathematics Intensive Summer Session (MISS) at California State University, Fullerton (CA)
  • PARC Supplemental Instruction (SI) Program at California State University, Sacramento (CA)
  • PIONERAS (Professional Improvement through Optimization of Native-language Education and the Realization of Academic/familial Symbiosis) at Texas Woman's University (TX)
  • UHD STEM Training Center for Underrepresented Future Workforce at University of Houston-Downtown (TX)


  • Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at University of Texas Health, San Antonio (TX)
  • UTSA M.S. Business Program at University of Texas, San Antonio (TX)


  • Building Bridges Through Education powered by West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (MI)
  • Catch the Next Ascender Program at Catch the Next, Inc. (TX)/li>
  • Conexión Américas' College Success Program at Conexión Américas (TN)
  • First-Gen Forward at Latino U College Access (LUCA) (NY)
  • Kid City Hope Place at Los Angeles United Methodist Urban Foundation (CA)

Every year, Examples of Excelencia begins with a national call for nominations encouraging individuals and programs to share initiatives accelerating Latino student success in higher education. Excelencia in Education reviews all program profiles of those intentionally serving Latino students and, this year, identified 21 finalists using rigorous criteria. Finalists identified in each of four categories—associate, baccalaureate, graduate, and community-based organizations—are presented to a national selection committee composed of higher education leaders, grant makers, and stakeholders. The committee assesses the strength of innovative, intentional, culturally relevant, and effective high-impact practices tailored to Latino students and their communities to select the four Examples of Excelencia.

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 the mission. Launched in 2004 in the nation’s capital, Excelencia has established a network of results-oriented educators and policymakers to address the U.S. economy’s needs for a highly educated workforce and engaged civic leaders. For more information, visit: EdExcelencia.org 

Examples of Excelencia expands on the legacy of work first began in 1999 by its two visionary leaders, Deborah Santiago and Sarita Brown. Since 2005, Excelencia in Education has received over 1,800 program submissions; recognized over 350 programs for their impact in accelerating Latino student success; and raised and awarded over $2 million to the programs making a difference for Latino students to support their sustainability and expansion.