Nine Colleges and Universities Earn Prestigious Seal of Excelencia

June 20, 2019

For information contact:
Hannah Kurowski, (for Excelencia in Education)

Schools Meet High Bar in Serving Latino Students to Ensure America’s Future

Washington, D.C. – Excelencia in Education today announced that nine institutions of higher education earned the 2019 Seal of Excelencia. The Seal is a comprehensive certification recognizing an institution’s commitment and ability to successfully serve Latino students. This year is the Seal’s inaugural year. Future Seal recipients will be announced on an annual basis.

The 2019 Seal of Excelencia recipients, listed in alphabetical order, are:

  • Arizona State University
  • Austin Community College (Texas)
  • California State University Channel Islands
  • El Paso Community College (Texas)
  • Florida International University
  • Grand Valley State University (Michigan)
  • South Texas College
  • University of Arizona
  • University of Texas El Paso

The Seal is not a ranking nor an award. It is, however, part of Excelencia’s systemic approach to:

  • Close the education equity gap;
  • Accelerate the number of Latino students who attain college degrees by 2030; and
  • Support America’s economic and global standing by effectively preparing Latinos.

To earn the Seal, institutions must demonstrate they have made significant strides in terms of data, practice, and leadership, areas Excelencia has identified as key to supporting Latino student success.

“At Excelencia, we know that institutions and communities that intentionally measure their postsecondary Latino student success and use evidence-based practices both serve these students well and serve as catalysts for substantive, positive change in public policy,” said Sarita Brown, President, Excelencia in Education. “Through the Seal certification process, we provide a platform for colleges and universities to reflect on their current impact, practices, and policies and implement new and better ones that respond to Latino students’ realities. Ultimately this serves all students.”

For institutions, the Seal highlights the use of proven strategies and the need for internal alignment that supports greater Latino student success. It advocates change through collaboration, offering both technical assistance and access to data from Excelencia’s analysis, network, and staff. For students, the Seal provides important new information about colleges and universities that have a track record in supporting Latino student success that will help inform future and current students’ decision-making when pursuing a degree.

“Having a higher education is vital to succeed in today’s global economy,” said Deborah Santiago, CEO, Excelencia in Education. “If institutions aren’t effectively serving our Latino students, we lose a vital source of talent for our workforce and civic leadership. Institutions that strive for and most particularly those that earn the Seal, have demonstrated their capacity to grow our country’s highly-skilled workforce and develop leaders —in other words, these institutions are ensuring America’s future.”

Latino labor force participation is expected to increase by 3% every year, while participation is expected to decrease for non-Hispanic Whites (National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education, NCES).

The Seal draws on Excelencia’s 15 years of experience in identifying and developing best practices in ensuring the graduation and long-term success of Latino college students. Currently, the proportion of Latinos who graduate within six years is 10% lower in comparison to their non-Latino White peers. The gap is even greater, at 14 percentage points, when comparing four-year graduation rates (NCES).

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: