More Than 60 Higher Education Leaders Endorse Seal of Excelencia

October 10, 2018

For information contact:
Jenny Chang, (for Excelencia in Education)

Major New National Initiative Aimed at Significantly Increasing Number of Latino Students Completing Degrees by 2030

Washington, DC – More than 60 leaders of higher education and Latino advocacy organizations have endorsed The Seal of Excelencia, a major national initiative announced today by Excelencia in Education aimed at significantly increasing the number of Latino students attaining college degrees by 2030.

The Seal of Excelencia is the first-ever initiative to credential higher education institutions based on leadership, evidence-based practices, and use of data to ensure Latino student success. The Seal also serves to assist Latino students in making postsecondary education choices that will best serve their educational goals. The first group of colleges and universities to be awarded the Seal of Excelencia will be announced in early 2019.

College and university chancellors and presidents endorsing the initiative include Michael D. Amiridis (University of Illinois at Chicago), Michael Crow (Arizona State University), Greg Fenves (University of Texas at Austin), Maria Harper-Marinick (Maricopa Community Colleges), Félix Matos-Rodríguez (Queens College, CUNY), Tomás D. Morales (California State University-San Bernardino), Diana Natalicio, (University of Texas at El Paso), Eloy Oakley (California Community Colleges) Eduardo Padron, (Miami Dade College) and Juan Salgado, (City Colleges of Chicago). The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Gilbert & Jacki Cisneros Foundation, the American Association of Community Colleges, and the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC), National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) and UnidosUS are among the grantmakers, higher education, and Latino advocacy organizations also endorsing the Seal of Excelencia framework. [See full list of leaders and organizations endorsing Seal of Excelencia.]

The nation’s leading organization for accelerating Latino student success, Excelencia in Education created The Seal of Excelencia to serve as a voluntary certification system that recognizes higher education institutions that employ evidence-based practices, maintain strong data systems, and have leadership committed to serving the needs of Latino students.

“The Seal will signal that an institution has developed a comprehensive and systemic approach to accelerating Latino student success,” said Sarita Brown, President, Excelencia in Education. “It demonstrates the commitment to raise the bar, and measure how effectively institutions serve Latino students through to degree completion. While Latino college-going is improving, change must happen faster to increase the numbers of Latino college graduates.”

More than 65 percent of all Latino students, who comprise the biggest and fastest-growing group in U.S. higher education, currently attend Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). “Colleges and universities need to go beyond enrolling Latino students to serving Latino students," said Deborah Santiago, CEO of Excelencia in Education. “The Seal of Excelencia will help them respond to changing demographics and to serve their Latino students more effectively by codifying what serving Latino students means.”

The Seal draws on Excelencia’s years of experience in identifying and developing best practices in ensuring the graduation and long-term success of Latino college students. Rather than advocating for change through top-down policies that are often monolithic, are perceived as punitive, or require additional funding, Excelencia will work with institutions to build up their capacity and better use the resources at their disposal.

For institutions, the Seal will help promote the use of proven strategies that support greater Latino student success and drive change in a collaborative and comprehensive manner, offering both technical assistance and access to data from Excelencia’s network. For potential students, the Seal will offer important new information about colleges and universities that can help them better choose where to pursue their higher education.

To earn the Seal, institutions must show momentum in three core areas that Excelencia has determined lead to Latino student success:

  • Robust and accurate data systems: Institutions must demonstrate their commitment to Latino enrollment, retention, financial support, and graduation, as well as Latino representation among administration, faculty, and staff.
  • Consistent, transparent use of evidence-based practices: Institutions quantitatively and qualitatively show positive impact over multiple years of practices that intentionally implement and what works for Latino student success.
  • Strong, committed leadership: Institutions demonstrate the explicit and public commitment of their President/Chancellor and Board to improving Latino student success, including creating and executing an effective strategic plan and ensuring that practices and policies are aligned with current data.

“The Seal of Excelencia will be the beacon to identify colleges and universities that support Latino students,” said Jacki Cisneros, President of the Gilbert and Jacki Cisneros Foundation. “Institutions bearing the Seal will demonstrate to a high degree through data and evidence that they understand and meet the needs of our first-generation college students and guide them to educational and professional success.”

Felix Matos-Rodriguez, President of Queens College, CUNY, agrees. “As a member of the Excelencia Presidents for Latino Student Success network, I wholeheartedly support the Seal of Excelencia initiative.” he said. “Our nation’s social and economic fabric is immeasurably strengthened by the investment made in such vital efforts."

As a critical companion to the Seal, Excelencia has also created the Ladder of Engagement through which Excelencia will provide expertise and technical assistance through a network of peer-to-peer learning sessions, workshops, and institutes where teams of faculty, staff, and administrators will help institutions build the capacity needed to achieve the Seal.

On a policy level, the Seal will help build greater awareness of practices and policies that effectively improve college completion and degree attainment rates for Latino students so that public and private funding can be directed at what works. The Seal of Excelencia also helps n to target institutions committed to long-term programs that will benefit students, colleges, the economy, and the overall health of the nation.

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 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:



Latinos in Higher Education - 2024 Compilation of Fast Facts - web pop-up banner with "Learn More" button.