Excelencia in Education Releases Comprehensive New Profile of Latino Students in Higher Education

April 9, 2024

Contact: Media@EdExcelencia.org

Timely Analysis Provides a Touchstone to Better Understand and Serve One of the Fastest Growing College-Age Populations

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 9, 2024) – Excelencia in Education announces today the release of a comprehensive new profile of Latino students — one of the fastest growing populations in higher education — and institutions where they enroll in order to inform policy and mobilize action that ensures they are served well. It shows Latinos represent the majority of growth in the number of degrees earned nationwide, despite their lower degree attainment compared to all students.

The analysis, “Latinos in Higher Education: 2024 Compilation of Fast Facts,” demonstrates Latinos account for 79% of the 4% overall increase in the number of degrees earned over the last five years. Latinos have made significant gains in degree completion, but only 27% of Latinos had earned an associate degree or higher in 2021-22, compared to 44% of all people. Latinos continue to be underrepresented across degree levels.

“For 20 years, Excelencia has led the way with analysis and actionable efforts to accelerate Latino student success in higher education,” said Deborah Santiago, co-founder and CEO of Excelencia. “Our new compilation of fact sheets builds on these efforts, sets the stage for national policy discussions, and equips institutions to more intentionally serve the growing number of Latino students on their campuses while increasing success for all.”

In addition to providing a comprehensive profile of Latino students, institutions that serve them, and the opportunities they face, the analysis informs Excelencia’s four policy priorities: affordability, institutional capacity, retention, and transfer.

Key findings from the analysis include:

  • Latinos are far more likely to be first-generation college students. Half of Latinos (51%) were first-generation college students, compared to African Americans (38%), Asians (30%), and Whites (22%).
  • Latinos are more likely to receive the federal Pell Grant. In 2019-20, about half of Latino students (49%) received a Pell Grant, awarded to students displaying exceptional financial need. Only 26% of Latinos accepted federal student loans, fewer than any group except Asians (25%).
  • Latinos have the highest labor force participation rate. Two-thirds of Latinos (66%) participated in the labor force in 2022. However, Latinos are overrepresented in lower paying occupations, with 34% in manual labor roles.
  • Institutions serving Latinos are predominantly Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). 600 HSIs represent 20% of all colleges and universities yet educate 63% of Latino students.
  • Seal of Excelencia certified institutions graduate Latinos at a higher rate than institutions nationally. Institutions with the Seal — a national certification for intentionally serving Latino students — represented less than 1% of colleges and universities yet enrolled 15% and graduated 17% of Latino students.

Excelencia in Education works with a national network of institutions committed to knowing and intentionally serving Latino, and all, students so they thrive on their campuses.

“Increasing the number of Latinos that earn degrees is essential to meeting our country’s workforce and civic leadership needs,” said Sarita Brown, co-founder and president of Excelencia. “We are proud to make common cause with institutional leaders who choose to be part of our national network committed to accelerating Latino student success in higher education. Together, they are ensuring America’s bright future with the talents of Latinos.”

“Latinos in Higher Education: 2024 Compilation of Fast Facts” benefited from the support and public leadership of 24 colleges and universities that have earned the Seal of Excelencia:

  • Arizona State University
  • Austin Community College District
  • California State University Channel Islands
  • California State University, Fresno
  • California State University, Fullerton
  • California State University, Long Beach
  • California State University, Northridge
  • City Colleges of Chicago, Richard J. Daley
  • College City Colleges of Chicago, Wilbur Wright
  • College El Paso Community College
  • Florida International University
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Long Beach City College
  • Mercy University
  • Miami Dade College
  • San Antonio College
  • South Texas College
  • St. Edward’s University
  • University at Albany, SUNY
  • University of Illinois Chicago
  • The University of Texas at Arlington
  • The University of Texas at Austin
  • The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio

Access the full analysis: EdExcelencia.org/latinos-higher-ed-2024-fast-facts


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


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