Excelencia’s Policy Agenda: Retention and Transfer

Excelencia’s Policy Agenda: Retention and Transfer

Excelencia in Education
November 2020


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Latino students’ pathway to degree completion is post-traditional. Excelencia in Education’s research has found that Latinos often transfer institutions, attend part-time, and remain enrolled well after beginning their postsecondary education. Because Latinos do not follow a traditional postsecondary pathway—entering postsecondary education right after high school and graduating in four years from the institution where they first enrolled—they are not supported through postsecondary pathways.

While COVID-19 has upended higher education and enrollments decreased for almost every group, Latinos’ enrollment in higher education increased, showing a continued commitment to postsecondary education. Federal and state policy should recognize this commitment and address the post-traditional pathways. Doing so would help more Latino students complete a degree in a timely fashion, providing economic benefits to students and policymakers.


  How can policymakers support Latinos’ retention and transfer
  on their path to a degree?

Hispanic-Serving Institutions enroll the overwhelming majority of Latino students, yet are low-resourced and face further budget cuts in the midst of an economic recession. The following recommendations would improve these institutions’ capacity to serve Latino students:

  • Make transfer efforts an allowable activity for Higher Education Act Title V (Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program) grants.
  • Strengthen transfer efforts between institutions by funding effective data sharing.
  • Update federal data to better capture Latino students’ pathways and how federal funding impacts Latino student success.
  • Ensure access to reliable internet connectivity for students and commit to long-term broadband infrastructure investments.
  • Provide financial incentives to retain Latino students on their path to graduation.


Related Publications

What does Latinos’ pathway to college completion look like?

Read more Latinos in Higher Education: Compilation of Fast Facts and
College Completion through a Latino Lens

Is the US making progress to closing equity gaps?

Read Closing the Equity Gap in Educational Attainment for Latinos

How are institutions improving transfer pathways to serve their students?

Read Framing, Not Blaming

What is the profile of Latino adult learners in higher education?

Read a summary in Latino Adult Learners in Higher Education

How are selective institutions contributing to Latino student success?

Read From Selectivity to Success

Are Latino students participating in Prior-Learning Assessments?

Read Random Access: The Latino Student Experience with Prior-Learning Assessment