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Seal of Excelencia Certified Institutions

Seal of Excelencia certified institutions have been able to articulate and demonstrate they are modeling the behavior we need to see to accelerate Latino student success. They are having measurable impact in changing the face of higher education.

Deborah Santiago, CEO, Excelencia in Education

 

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Excelencia in Education recognized these colleges and universities for intentionally SERVING Latino students and for demonstrating positive student outcomes. Learn more about what the Seal of Excelencia is and why it matters. 

See what institutional leaders say about earning the Seal of Excelencia certification.

30 Seal of Excelencia Certified Institutions Logos- 2022

 

Arizona State University (ASU)

Recertified: 2022-2025

ASU, a Hispanic serving research university with campuses across Arizona, serves over 100,000 undergraduates and just over 25% of students are Latino.

Prioritizing transfer students and faculty to increase Latino student success

Prioritizing faculty: ASU is leveraging two internal associations supported by the President–the Chicano/Latino Faculty and Staff Association and the Faculty Women of Color Caucus–to provide social and professional support to Latino faculty members. These powerful connection opportunities have led to an increase in the number of full-time and part-time Latino faculty over the last 5 years by 23% and 21% respectively, Further, currently 12% of the institution’s academic chairs and directors are Latino. Along with complementary efforts in each academic college to designate a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion lead to spearhead initiatives that support faculty training in inclusive pedagogy, ASU is intentionally focusing on the recruitment, retention, and overall representation of Latino faculty.

Prioritizing transfer: In Fall 2020, ASU launched MyPath2ASU, a guaranteed transfer admission program with integrated transfer tools and pathway guides, to enhance the experience of transfer-intending students. MyPath2ASU responds to a significant growth in the number of Latino transfer students, a population at ASU that has increased by 46% over the last 5 years compared to an overall enrollment increase of 29% over the same period. ASU has developed 400+ tailored degree pathways, including admission into the student's major of choice, for students with transfer credit from 70 institutions, two-thirds of which are Hispanic-Serving Institutions.

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Click here to view the ASU institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

Austin Community College (ACC)

Recertified: 2022-2025

ACC serves over 35,000 undergraduates, of which nearly 40% are Latino, across 11 campuses in central Texas.

Redesigning gateway courses and advising to retain Latino and all students

Redesigning gateway courses: ACC scaffolded efforts to increase the students’ pass rate in high-enrollment gateway courses, which serve as critical benchmarks for degree completion, informed by internal survey data indicating Latinos’ sense of belonging impacted course completion. ACC has redesigned over 200 online high-risk courses–gateway courses with less than a 70% pass rate–to include embedded tutoring, and early data indicate that the pass rate for Latino students in these courses has increased by 20%. In tandem, multiple academic departments are providing professional development focused on equity-minded and inclusive classroom environments to 80 faculty who teach high-enrollment gateway courses, with the opportunity for these faculty to initiate a racial equity change effort in their Spring 2023 classes and assess the impact on withdrawals for Latino and all students.

Redesigning advising: ACC has adapted Guided Pathways to make significant investments in hiring student success guidance staff and, as a result, have drastically improved their student-to-advisor ratio. Prior to 2015, one advisor served 1000+ students, and, since 2019, one advisor now serves 150-350 students, depending on various case management approaches by student subgroups. More Latinos are now graduating from ACC, as evidenced by a 59% increase in credentials earned by Latinos compared to a 42% increase for all students over the last five years.

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Click here to view the ACC institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI)

Recertified: 2022-2025

CSUCI, the only four-year public institution in Ventura County, California, serves nearly 7,000 undergraduates, 57% of whom are Latino.

Academic success programs and tools working together to individualize student support

Peer representation driving academic success: CSUCI created the ASSET (Academic Student Success Excellence Team) Scholars Program to enhance the success of first-year, first-generation, and open-to-exploring (undeclared major) students. About 85% of program participants are Latino, and the program incorporates a three-pronged familial environment of faculty, staff, and peer mentors to support students in overcoming academic barriers, exploring co-curricular opportunities, and connecting their coursework with their future goals. Supported by a 100% Latino group of peer mentors in 2020-21, ASSET scholars reported the highest increase in setting priorities to accomplish what is most important to them and establishing effective study schedules, among eight measures factors that contribute to academic success.

Degree planning driving academic success: Academic faculty and advising staff collaborated to launch a real-time digital degree planner, which has been shown to disproportionately support first-generation students with the knowledge that 78% of Latino students at CSUCI are first-generation. Incorporating this tool into new student orientation and advising meetings, now 72% of Latino, and all, students are actively utilizing the degree planner. This effort also established a framework for guiding institutional decision making; CSUCI has developed an infrastructure to maintain accurate degree maps and course availability, and academic leadership has integrated degree planner data to ensure that class scheduling is based on student demand rather than faculty preference.

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Click here to view the CSUCI institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

California State University, Fresno (Fresno State)

Certified: 2021-2024

Fresno State enrolls over 19,000 undergraduates and is the largest 4-year institution in California’s San Joaquin Central Valley, a heavy agricultural region. Of students, 55% are Latino and 67% are first generation college students. Fresno State charges the lowest fees in the California State University system to remain affordable since 41% of entering students come from families with incomes below $48,000.

Two examples of intentionally SERVING: Transfer innovation in teacher education and Post-graduation success

Fresno State’s South Valley Integrated Teacher Education Program (ITEP) advances its commitment to innovative programs that contribute to students’ lifelong success. ITEP is a transfer program and addresses the critical need for qualified teachers by helping future teachers from South Valley complete the first two years of their program at one of three local community colleges and their remaining coursework in an accelerated two-year program at Fresno State’s Visalia campus. About 70% of ITEP participants are Latino and students are able to complete their BA and teaching credential 1.5 years faster than non-ITEP students and save the one-hour trip to Fresno State several times per week. Further, ITEP students saw much higher two-year graduation rates than their peers, with 83% of the 2020 cohort graduating in two years compared to 70% of general Liberal Studies transfers and 37% of all university transfers from the same cohort.

The university supports post-graduation success by providing worked-based experiences for students through collaboration with business partners. The Valley Industry Partnership for Cooperative Education (VIP) program offers a paid internship program to engineering, construction management and industrial technology students. Students complete two, six month internships throughout their college careers. This allows students to gain the necessary experience to be “job-ready” when they enter the workforce upon graduation. The program supports the infrastructure and growth of Central California by producing graduates who understand the technological challenges in modern agriculture and manufacturing. The VIP program is funded by the 28 companies that pay a membership fee in order to be included in the program and get connected with quality interns. In the last four years, the program has scaled up to add 10 new participating companies. Since 2016, almost 40% of students in the program have been Latino and their graduation rate in the program is 72%, compared to the 48% rate for all students in the College of Engineering.

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Click here to view the Fresno State institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

California State University, Fullerton (Cal State Fullerton)

Certified: 2021-2024

Cal State Fullerton enrolls more than 40,000 students, of which 46% are Hispanic and 70% receive financial aid. The university is No. 2 in the state and No. 4 in the nation for awarding bachelor’s degrees to Hispanic students. Cal State Fullerton leverages partnerships with the local community to provide research opportunities, internships, and other hands-on learning experiences for students.

Two examples of intentionally SERVING: Cohort-based scholar programs and representative faculty recruitment

The Center for Scholars (CFS) provides direct and indirect support to enable students to focus on their academics through a combination of scholarship aid, comprehensive programming, and wraparound services for student success. Every academic year, cohort-based scholar programs serve nearly 500 students; over 60% are Latinx. Each scholar group has designated advisers who regularly meet with students to assess their needs and provide academic and socio-emotional support. Each program also has access to emergency funding that alleviates financial pressures related to basic needs and provides other support services such as specialized academic advising, student life activities, mentoring, and campuswide connections. The program sees strong persistence rates for CFS students, with over 90% of Latinx students persisting to the next academic year. First-year retention rates are also essential to note, with a 91% average year-one retention rate for first-year Latinx students and the average year-two retention rate for first-year Latinx students in CFS is 92% over three years.

Cal State Fullerton’s strategic faculty recruitment and hiring initiative supports the representation of Latinx faculty and administration. The initiative infuses high-impact practices into the search process by providing colleges and departments with in-depth training and support on such topics as diversification of applicant pools, anti-bias techniques, and equitable and inclusive candidate evaluation. This benefits Latinx students by raising awareness of the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion among faculty; demonstrating the university’s commitment to inclusive excellence in candidate applications, and increasing the overall number of Latinx faculty on campus. CSUF sustains the strategic faculty recruitment and hiring initiative with a full-time position dedicated to this work (faculty diversity officer), $5,000 allocated to departments for each faculty search, and continuous improvement of the associated workshops and training sessions. To date, 191 participants have engaged in the search committee training sessions.The minority faculty new hire rate has risen from 22% in 2017 to 53% in 2020. In spring 2021, 22% of newly hired faculty were Latinx. Efforts continue to ensure Latinx faculty representation is more equitable.

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Click here to view the Cal State Fullerton institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

California State University, Sacramento (Sacramento State)

Certified: 2020-2023

Sacramento State enrolls over 31,000 students, of which 56% are students of color. It is designated an HSI and an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI). Hispanics comprise the largest ethnic group (30%) and 58% of its students qualify for Pell Grants.

Two examples of SERVING: Student success through faculty diversity and pro-active academic support programs

Sacramento State understands that Latinx representation among faculty, administration, and staff is critical to Latino student engagement and success. Thus, it has implemented strategies to increase diversity and Latinx representation. The Office of Faculty Advancement, along with the Division of Inclusive Excellence, provide mini-grants to help departments find ways to diversify their applicant pools. Once hired, a robust five-day orientation program exposes all new employees to inclusive teaching methods, support structures for students and general inclusivity practices. In addition, the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), intentionally prepares faculty to serve Latinx students through yearlong Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) focused on data analytics and student success, equity, inclusion, and action research.

Sacramento State has established an internal university committee comprised of administrators, staff, faculty, and students that helps distribute funding to programs and processes that increase accessibility, progression, and graduation. Programs and processes are submitted for consideration by faculty, staff, and students. One supported program is the Second Year Success (SYS) program. SYS uses an interventionist holistic approach to support students on Academic Probation. The program targets students who finish their first year with a 2.4 GPA or lower. Students meet with SYS Advisors (students in the Counseling Master’s Program) for multiple sessions. SYS is sustained through a strong partnership with the Master’s in Counseling Program.

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Click here to view the Sacramento State University institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

El Paso Community College (EPCC)

Recertified: 2022-2025

EPCC serves nearly 25,000 undergraduates, of which over 85% are Latino, across five campuses in El Paso County, Texas.

Integrating inclusive environments and pathways to close equity gaps

Inclusive environments: When EPCC analyzed data and learned that more than two of every five students are also parents, it set out to strategically nurture a culture of care and inclusiveness. Since 2021, EPCC has tapped into a variety of funding resources to coordinate childcare, food pantries, lactation stations, mental health centers, and financial support beyond financial aid, and it will soon offer Family Resource Centers at each of its five campuses. Coupled with efforts to dismantle policies that limit children on campus and increase faculty/staff awareness of the needs of student parents, EPCC’s “Family Friendly College” has propelled EPCC to its highest completion rate for Latino students, nearly doubled from seven years ago.

Inclusive pathways: EPCC has adapted Guided Pathways to be inclusive to all students pursuing credentials, grounded in a multi-pronged approach of wrap-around student supports, program maps, differentiated advising strategies, and high-impact engagement activities. EPCC is building on its current high school and industry partnerships to offer 36 early college high schools and 18 P-TECH programs, both of which provide college credit and associate degree pathways for high school students, by Fall 2023. Currently about 84% of students are Latino. All EPCC students seeking an associate degree now complete their degree, on average, in just 3.9 years–improved from 5 years–and with 79 credits–improved from 103 credits–simultaneously decreasing students’ time to degree and cost of attendance.

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Click here to view the EPCC institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

Florida International University (FIU)

Recertified: 2022-2025

FIU, a Hispanic serving research university, serves nearly 40,000 undergraduates, of which two-thirds are Latino, across several campuses in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

Dismantling institutional and financial barriers to holistically support students to degree completion

Dismantling institutional barriers: FIU has invested in hiring additional staff to build on a strategy of high-touch student outreach, contacting students across the institution to support their retention and completion. This outreach team analyzes data to identify targeted populations of students, including Latinos, and help resolve issues related to re-enrollment, registration holds, incomplete grades, and graduation eligibility. Over 1,000 additional students–including 668 Latino students–have graduated as a direct result of these outreach efforts since 2020, and FIU has seen increases in their graduation rate for all students, including a 34% increase in its four-year graduation rate for Latino students over a five-year period.

Dismantling financial barriers: FIU scaled its strategies to provide timely financial support to Latino and all students, building an infrastructure to deliver retention-focused emergency aid and seeking additional donations and institutional funds to increase its budget for completion grants. Given that 74% of FIU Pell grant recipients are Latino, multiple FIU offices, like the Financial Wellness Program, coordinated a coaching model that accounts for the impact of financial emergencies, like students’ ability to enroll in and pay for courses. From 2020-2021, FIU saw a 62% decrease in the number of Latino students dropped from their courses for nonpayment, and 98% of Latino completion grant recipients graduated within one year of receiving the grant.

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Click here to view the FIU institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

Grand Valley State University (GVSU)

Recertified: 2022-2025

GVSU, a public liberal arts university located in West Michigan, serves over 18,000 undergraduates, of which less than 10% are Latino.

Data-informed decision making to enroll and retain more Latino students

Strategic enrollment management: GVSU created a Latino Transformation Team and charged them with reviewing key data and identifying recruitment and retention efforts that intentionally serve Latino students as a pillar of their Strategic Enrollment Management Plan. Fourteen transformation teams, each with a focus on a distinct student population, collaborate with senior leadership to develop evidence-informed strategies that harness the strengths of Latino and all students. Reviewing its most recent year of available data, it is clear that GVSU has reaped the benefits of this cross-functional approach, awarding the highest number of degrees to Latinos in the institution’s history.

Mental health supports: In recent GVSU student surveys, data indicated that Latino students were unlikely to seek mental health services yet likely to experience stress, depression, and isolation. The University Counseling Center responded by structuring support groups for Latino students and DACA recipients, many of whom are Latino at GVSU, and hiring additional staff to develop robust resources and programming for Latino students and other students of color. These efforts, along with retention and financial aid efforts implemented with a Latino lens, have kept GVSU’s retention rate among Latino students consistent, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Click here to view the GVSU institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

Long Beach City College (LBCC)

Certified: 2020-2023

LBCC is the 4th largest community College of the 115 California community colleges serving 26,000 students. Of these, 82% are part time, 56% are Latinx, and over 55% are first generation college-goers. In last 10 years, Long Beach has experienced major shift in demographics that has seen more Latino students. It intentionally and overtly serves Latino students by setting an expectation of equity as a priority.

Two examples of SERVING: Cultural curricular redesign and linking with community partners

Long Beach City College (LBCC) has implemented cultural curriculum audits to increase Latino students’ success by engaging its faculty in four key areas: 1) redesigning course content through a Latino lens; 2) redesigning classroom experiences ensuring that Latino students have the space to engage in the classroom comparably to their peers; 3) redesigning assignments confirming expectations are stated in transparent ways; and, 4) redesigning approaches to assessment by giving student feedback in supportive ways. Core success rates for Latino students in these courses increased at double the rate of Latino students in courses with non-trained faculty.

Long Beach supports student success through engagement with partners and collaboration within the college as well as with the broader community that it serves. An example is the Long Beach College Promise, a partnership between the LBCC, CSU Long Beach and Long Beach Unified School District to work as one system to help Latino and other students transition between institutions. LBCC also established the Center for Community & Industry Partnerships, which connects businesses, city agencies and local organizations with LBCC students and faculty to provide workforce links and opportunities.

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Click here to view the LBCC institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

Mercy College (MC)

Certified: 2022-2025

Mercy College has cultivated roots in the community by offering an affordable, high-quality education with well-designed supports to help Latino students succeed. Mercy is the largest private HSI in the region, enrolling 5,860 undergraduates, and 42% identify as Latino. Mercy also leads among private HSIs nationally in awarding bachelor's degrees to Latinos for 2019-20.

Community connections and personalized programs increase student success

Strengthening retention through personalization: Closing equity gaps has been a top strategic priority since 2008. The Personalized Achievement Contract (PACT) Program plays a key role in this strategy by providing a pathway to graduation with mentoring and support in areas like registration, advising, career exploration, and financial literacy. PACT employs nearly 50 mentors, including Mercy alumni, Spanish-speakers, first-generation college graduates, and individuals with experience in the student's field of study. In 2018, the retention rate for Latino, first-time in college, full-time students was 77%, up from 60% before the implementation of PACT. A 15% retention gap for Latino students at Mercy was eliminated by 2019.

STEM mentorship increases GPA and retention: The STEM mentoring program is one of a host of specialized programs that work for Latino students by providing individualized attention with resources and mentoring programs to help students stay on track and succeed. The program emphasizes a growth mindset and integrates support between first-year STEM students and their peers, professional advisors, and faculty. In Fall 2021, Latino program participants averaged a 3.2 GPA, comparable to the program’s overall average, and higher than that of both Latino non-participants (2.7 GPA) and overall non-participants (2.8 GPA). The retention rate for Latinos in the STEM mentoring program from Fall 2020-Spring 2022 was 93%, compared to 81% for Latinos who did not participate. The average term-to-term retention rate for mentored students is 90%, compared to 73%-83% for non-mentored students.

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Click here to view the MC institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

Miami Dade College (MDC)

Certified: 2021-2024

MDC enrolls almost 90,000 students, and the student population mirrors the county’s population with 72% being Hispanic. In addition, 51% are first generation college students, 43% come from households with incomes below the poverty line, and 78% work while attending college. The college leads Florida in economic mobility and in 2019-20 awarded 16,650 degrees.

Two examples of intentionally SERVING: Honors dual language programs and intentional student guidance

The Honors College Dual Language Program gives our Hispanic students tremendous social and economic advantages in today’s global marketplace by offering classes in both English and Spanish. Research shows that students who are bilingual reap increased cognitive, personal, and social development skills, become more marketable in the workplace, and have expanded job opportunities. The importance of being bilingual cannot be understated at a global scale, but in Miami Dade County where most residents are Hispanic and employers are bilingual as well. This program has become part of the Honor College’s operations and has been fully sustained for years. The program has maintained a 100% fall-to-spring retention rate, higher than any of the other Honors College cohorts at the College. The Dual Language Program’s fall-to-fall retention rate is 98% surpassing the retention rates of the other Honors College cohorts, which range from 72% to 84%. The Dual Language Program completion rates are 95% (Summer 2019 data) compared to 68-72% for the other Honors College cohorts and 90% (Summer 2020 data - during the pandemic) compared to 64-83% for other Honors College cohorts.

Shark Path is an intentional weave of strategies, programs, activities, and interventions that guides students at every stage of their journey from admissions to completion. Serving mainly Hispanic students, Shark Path integrates the three-tiered advisement model with a Pre-College Advisor during the application and onboarding processes, an Assigned Advisor up to the 25% benchmark, and a College Mentor all the way to completion. In the last three years, MDC has served 50,000 students. Shark Path's effectiveness is evident in the increase of enrollment and retention rates.
• The average Fall-to-Spring retention rates increased to 91% for Hispanic students compared to 87% for white non-Hispanic students.
• The average Fall-to-Fall retention rates increased to 75% for Hispanic students compared to 69% for white non-Hispanic students.
• In addition, 94% of Hispanic students declared a program of study with the implementation of Shark Path, and there was an overall increase in 150% completion rate for all students of 5 percentage points (from 31% to 36%).

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Click here to view the MDC institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

San Antonio College (SAC)

Certified: 2022-2025

SAC is a 2-year, public HSI located in San Antonio, Texas, a city of 1.45 million of which 65% are Hispanic. SAC meets student and employer needs by providing: 1) an affordable, high-quality education for students seeking a BA through a transfer program, and 2) career-focused continuing education for students pursuing entry into the workforce.

Cultivating success through proactive advising and transfer pathways

Cultivating success through advising: SAC’s AlamoADVISE is a proactive advising model creating opportunities for students to earn a credential and transfer to a 4-year institution in less time with a lower financial burden. The model is based on intentional conversations between students, faculty, and staff aimed at supporting the achievement of students’ educational and career goals. Key to this personalized model is a case management approach that includes a comprehensive 60-hour training component, ensuring a consistent student advising experience while decreasing the advisor to student ratio to an institutional low of 1:350. Students file an academic plan and mission statement in their first semester. Students receive advising support to stay on track and maintain momentum towards completion. Since the implementation of AlamoADVISE, the retention rate for full-time Hispanic students has increased by 5%. Pre-pandemic, gains in fall-to-fall persistence went from 65% in 2015-16 to 68% in 2019-20. SAC combines this proactive advising model with other holistic support services to create a strong foundation for more intentionally supporting the journey to completion.

Cultivating success through transfer pathways: SAC’s AlamoINSTITUTES and Transfer Advising Guides (TAG) guide students through certificates or associate degrees and facilitate the transition to a 4-year institution or employment. AlamoINSTITUTES, derived from Guided Pathways, map out six distinct career pathways with related academic programs. The TAG within each AlamoINSTITUTES provides a roadmap that specifies the applicability of SAC courses to university degree plans. The information they provide helps students minimize loss of credits in the transfer process and are important tools for advisors and faculty mentors to monitor student progress and support degree completion. The AlamoINSTITUTES along with TAGs have helped reduce time-to-degree from nearly 5 years in 2017 to almost 4 years in 2021 for many of their Hispanic students. Additionally, in 2021, the average cumulative credit hours earned for a 60-hour degree was 70, compared to a state average of 80. Further, SAC's 6-year transfer rate for the 2015 cohort was 33%, up from 23% for the 2009 cohort.

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Click here to view the SAC institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

San Diego State University (SDSU)

Certified: 2021-2024

Situated near the US/Mexico border, SDSU is both an HSI and a Carnegie Foundation designated institution with High Research Activity. SDSU is the third-largest university in California, serving 35,587 students, 29% Latino, and 29% Pell grant eligible. Its Imperial Valley campus serves a predominantly Latino population, currently 94%.

Two examples of intentionally SERVING: partnerships and faculty hiring

SDSU deliberately fosters collaborative relationships that support transfer processes that benefit Latino students. Admission staff work closely with transfer center directors and counselors, making sure they understand transfer academic pathways to ensure Latino students are supported as they navigate application and enrollment processes. Likewise, the Imperial Valley University Partnership has been a key part of SDSU’s successful transfer strategy. It promotes a higher level of collaboration and coordination within the K-16 pipeline and has resulted in the development of articulation agreements and transfer admission guarantees that streamline the curriculum and expand access for transfer students.

As part of its commitment to increase the number of Latino faculty and staff, SDSU has several strategies. The Building on Inclusive Excellence hiring program requires that candidates considered for hiring demonstrate commitment to serving URM populations, including Latinos. In addition, each academic and administrative unit is required to have a plan for hiring diverse personnel in order to receive approval for future hires. Units must adopt specific strategies to achieve representation that reflects the demographics of SDSU. Three councils were created to support the development and implementation of these plans: an Equity Council that examines diversity at the institutional level; an Inclusion Council that supports diversity within academic affairs; and diversity councils within each college to help ensure the plans are completed and effective.

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Click here to view the SDSU institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

South Texas College (STC)

Recertified: 2022-2025

STC serves nearly 30,000 undergraduates, of which 95% are Latino, across nine locations in the Rio Grande Valley.

Increasing enrollment and completion through differentiated customer service models

Differentiated enrollment fast tracks: STC redesigned its onboarding program to balance students’ need for a “one-stop” service model and institutional needs to more efficiently serve three distinct student types with three programs and strengthen Latino enrollment: 1) Dual Credit Fast Track propels dual credit high school students to complete the degree they started in high school, 2) Senior Fast Track 2.0 empowers graduating high school seniors to take ownership of their educational pathway, and, 3) Back on Track reengages students who have paused their enrollment. Through partnership efforts externally with local high schools and internally across various departments, STC staff work collaboratively to recruit, advise, and register several thousand students, all with customized activities aligned to each student type, and have contributed to STC’s 2021-22 Latino enrollment bouncing back from a dip in 2020-21.

Differentiated student communication: STC’s new Enrollment Management Plan centers on (re)engaging the over 140,000 Latino adults in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. By Fall 2023, STC will integrate and align enrollment and student services to serve the enrollment and completion needs of three adult learner populations: first-time-in-college, stop-outs, and those enrolled in continuing education programs. As 71% of all STC students are part-time, this new approach to enrollment management will create a seamless enrollment process for Latino adults with targeted recruitment communications, customized enrollment support, and virtual support to meet the unique needs of Latino adults who face time constraints due to family and work commitments.

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Click here to view the STC institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

State University of New York, University at Albany (SUNY at Albany)

Certified: 2022-2025

UAlbany invests in and cultivates an inclusive environment in which Latino student success “ceases to be remarkable and is… a fact of everyday life.” With 18% undergraduate Latino enrollment, UAlbany is an eHSI where nearly 40% of undergraduates come from underrepresented backgrounds, and almost one third are first generation. It has nearly closed graduation gaps for underrepresented students and is nationally recognized for its Latino and Black student success. The success of its students defines who UAlbany is as an institution.

Serving through pathway programs and living learning communities

Serving through pathway programs: The Science Technology Entry Program (STEP) establishes a pathway from K-12 to UAlbany and increases Latino participation in STEM. STEP prepares high school and middle school students for majors in STEM and provides them tools to succeed in higher education. Once at UAlbany, the Collegiate STEP program provides enrolled Latino students peer mentoring, tutoring, enhanced academic advisement, standardized test preparation, discounts on graduate prep courses, academic and career development, access to internships, research opportunities, symposiums and workshops. The CSTEP program is intentionally designed to increase retention of Latino and other underrepresented students to boost graduation rates and address the vast disparity in their representation in the STEM workforce. The first-year retention rate for Latino freshmen who participated in CSTEP in 2016 and 2017 showed a 9-10% higher retention rate than non-participants. In 2016, the four-year graduation rate for Latino freshman CSTEP participants was 81%, compared to 74% for non-Latino students in the program, and 28% higher than Latino students who did not participate in CSTEP.

Serving through learning communities: Living Learning Communities (LLCs) are a key part of UAlbany’s strategy to increase Latino enrollment, retention, and graduation. LLCs transform the large university experience for Latino freshmen and transfers by tailoring their residential experience into smaller cohorts built around common academic, professional, and personal interests. High demand from incoming Latino students and outcome data indicating they contribute to higher GPAs, retention, and graduation rates incentivized the growth of the program to 18 LLCs with over 450 students. Latino students enrolled in LLCs now represent 21% of the LLC population, exceeding their representation in the undergraduate student body. Between 2015-2017, Latino students participating in LLCs earned a significantly higher first-year GPA than their non-LLC peers. Four-year graduation rates for Latino LLC students were on average 4% higher than their peers.

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Click here to view the SUNY at Albany institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

Texas A&M San Antonio (A&M-SA)

Certified: 2021-2024

Texas A&M University-San Antonio (A&M-SA) was founded to improve educational access to the largely Latino community in the South Side of San Antonio, long underserved and underrepresented in higher education. A&M-San Antonio’s first graduating class of 52 students crossed the stage in 2003. In 2019-20, 78% of its 6,037 undergraduate population and 72% of 1,405 graduates in the Class of 2020 identified as Latino.

Two examples of intentionally SERVING: Network solutions and integrated student-centered pathways

The mission to intentionally serve Latino students continues to be a part of every phase of the development of the university. A 2019 study of Bexar County’s demographics and educational attainment resulted in the formation of the ASPIRE network, which focuses on customized solutions for the needs of each of the seven school districts in the study. Hispanic enrollment in the ASPIRE school districts ranged from 74% to 98%, with all but two above 90%. Educational attainment (BA or higher) by those aged 25 years or older ranged between 5% and 18%, with five districts below 8%, compared to eight non-ASPIRE districts which ranged from 14% to 68%, with six above 34%.

A&M-SA’s student-centered approach meets students where they are with intentional and holistic onboarding pathways based on close collaboration between student support departments across the university. Latino degree completion is predicated on developing sense of belonging through intentional connections with peers, staff, and faculty that include the following practices: 1) academic coaches connect throughout the summer before enrollment and link students to other on-campus resources; 2) Financial Literacy Fellows, trained peer leaders, provide individual Money Coaching sessions; 3) peer leaders are embedded into freshman seminars and attend every class; and, 4) a Faculty Advising Program pairs one faculty member with four incoming students for their entire first year.

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Click here to view the A&M-SA institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

Texas State University (TXST)

Certified: 2022-2025

TXST, serving 37,800 students, 40% of which are Hispanic, understands that fostering a familia culture increases sense of belonging and is essential to retention and an inclusive campus climate. The university goes beyond celebrating its HSI identity through culturally relevant curriculum and programming.

Wrap-around services for 1st-year success and completion

Comprehensive supports increase grad rates: Understanding the significant difference a college degree makes in the life of Latino students, their family, and community, TXST’s comprehensive approach to college completion includes: (a) multifaceted support and retention efforts, (b) intentional support to address financial barriers and loan debt, and (c) re-engaging students temporarily stopped out. Efforts have resulted in an 83% increase in degrees awarded from 2013 to 2021. Bachelor's degrees increased 98% in the same period. By 2019, TXST was among the top 3 Texas universities to award bachelor's degrees to Latino students in more than 50 degree programs. Based on 2014 6-year graduation rates, TXST has the second highest 6-year Latino graduation rate of Seal of Excelencia certified institutions in Texas.

Wrap-around support for completion: TXST’s PACE program assigns a team of individuals (an academic advisor, a peer mentor, and a success coach) to assist students with the academic and social transition to college. Using a data-informed approach to identify Latino students who would most benefit from the program is a way for TXST to center student learning as the foundation for success at the institution. Program data indicates that between 2016 and 2020, 77% of Latinos who attended academic advising their first year were retained, compared to only 62% for Latino students who did not attend. Peer mentoring through the program is also making a difference. Of Latinos who received peer mentoring during the same period, 78% were retained compared to 66% of Latino non-participants.

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Click here to view the TXST institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA)

Certified: 2022-2025

UTA is committed to creating strong pathways to higher education for Latino students by operationalizing access in multiple ways. The growing Latino undergraduate population, which has increased 20% in the past five years, now totals 10,992 students and represents UTA’s largest undergraduate ethnic group. UTA’s efforts to ensure Latino educational success earning bachelor’s degrees has increased 34% over the past five years.

Creating success pathways to and through UTA

Success pathways to UTA: UTA’s commitment to establishing Latino student success pathways to higher education is evident in its efforts through 16 GoCenters, Bound for Success, and the Maverick Transfer Pathway. Together, these programs have contributed to the large increase in UTA’s Latino population from 2016-2021: 1) GoCenters serve 22 largely underserved high schools utilizing 31 UTA student mentors (47% Hispanic) providing students with information and support with test preparation, applying to college, and navigating financial aid. Between Fall 2020-Summer 2021, over 10,000 students, 6,338 Hispanic, and 1,677 parents were assisted; 2) Bound for Success places counselors in partner school districts, offers unconditional admission to the top 30% graduates, and provides college preparation and financial aid workshops throughout the year. In 2020-21, the program served 1,349 students, 73% identified as Latino; and 3) The Maverick Transfer Pathway increases transfer student success by providing course credit equivalencies to degree plans and by enhancing their ability to complete advising and registration. The Pathway has provided more than 550 customized degree audits. 603 Latino students have used the portal and 87 have enrolled.

Success pathways to completion: The Success with Academic Timeliness (SWAT) initiative aims to increase graduation rates by focusing on students with 90+ earned credit hours. The initiative leverages expanded machine learning analytics to generate insights and predictions on students’ likelihood to earn a credential. The process includes working with advisors to review degree maps, forecasting potential issues, and taking a proactive approach to assist students with timely degree completion. Outreach to students identifies other barriers impeding completion. From 2018-2021, within the targeted group, Latinos represented 27% and 30% of each graduation cohort respectively. During the same timeframe, the 4-year and 6-year graduation rates for Latino students increased 4% and 3%, respectively. In 2020-21, the institution conferred a record number of degrees (14,338).

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Click here to view the UTA institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

The University of Texas at Austin (UT)

Certified: 2020-2023

The University of Texas at Austin (UT) is an emerging Hispanic-Serving Institution with 24% Hispanic student representation from over 51,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UT uses predictive analysis to ensure it is “student ready” to serve its students from under-resourced backgrounds. It launched a strategic effort to increase its 4-year graduation rate for undergraduates and has made significant strides in increasing Hispanic student graduation over the last five years.

Two examples of SERVING: Building relationships and fostering a sense of belonging

In honoring the cultural values of Latino students, UT builds trusting and authentic relationships with students and their families through connections with staff, faculty, alumni, and current students through regional community gatherings and events such as its Plática Series, Longhorn Futuro: Latinx Success at Texas celebration, and Longhorn for a Day Road Trips. UT also established a new Access and Inclusion unit within the Office of Admissions to comprehensively examine strategies, programs, policies, and events to assess their effectiveness at supporting the enrollment of Latino students. The examination and assessment led to the formalization and expansion of Texas Student Recruiters, UT’s premier recruitment effort where current Latino and African American students connect to prospective and admitted Latino and African American students.

The 360 Connections program places all freshmen students into small communities of 20 students to help them integrate socially, academically, and developmentally that fosters a sense of belonging and builds community for students. The program aids students in the transition from high school to college and helps connect them to people and resources on campus. The small communities include a professional staff and/or faculty member, peer mentors, and upperclassmen. The retention rate of Latino first year students has been impacted positively since the inception of the program, showing comparable rates to all UT’s first year students.

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Click here to view the UT institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA)

Certified: 2020-2023

UTSA is a 4-year public university enrolling approximately 28,000 students, 58% of which are Latino. UTSA strives to move beyond Hispanic serving to Hispanic thriving through intentional policies, practices and support that tackle institutional inequities and accelerate educational success for Latino students.

Two examples of SERVING: Accelerating access and linking the classroom to the workforce

As part of its commitment to enroll Latino students, UTSA conducts targeted recruitment campaigns in geographic areas with large Latino populations throughout Texas. In its local area, the university partners with 12 school districts and five community colleges. Its comprehensive approach includes P-20 pipeline programs such as the following three: 1) Dual Credit, which provides college credit for high school students; 2) TRIO, which provides underrepresented students with opportunities for academic development and promotes college completion; and, 3) PREP (pre-freshman engineering program), which identifies and enrolls middle and high school underrepresented students interested in STEM majors and helps prepare them for advanced studies and careers.

UTSA understands the importance of linking classroom success to life after graduation through experiential learning for historically underserved populations. The university’s Classroom to Career (C2C) Initiative reimagines not only possibilities for experiential learning, but also how such learning is offered to cultivate a culture that builds marketable skills leading to career success. The initiative creates an integrated campus-wide framework for expanding and enhancing experiential learning opportunities for UTSA students to better prepare them post-graduation.

Click here to view the UTSA institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV)

Certified: 2021-2024

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) is a comprehensive academic institution of higher education located in South Texas, along the Texas-Mexico border. In fall 2020, UTRGV enrolled 27,272 undergraduate students, with a significant proportion of the undergraduate population identifying as first-generation college students. Over 90% of the student body identifies as Hispanic/Latino, mirroring the population of their primary service region.

Two examples of intentionally SERVING: Bilingual institute and tuition support

UTRGV is committed to being a model bilingual, bicultural, biliterate institution and has embraced the historical and cultural heritage of the region it serves by building curricula and programming that reflect the strategic advantages of the region. The Bilingual, Bicultural & Biliterate (B3) Institute has increased courses offered in Spanish or bilingually by almost 12%. The variety of courses and programs provide students whose first or second language is Spanish with the opportunity to master academic content in both Spanish and English.

UTRGV’s overarching financial support strategy maximizes financial support while minimizing student debt. Programs like the UTRGV Tuition Advantage program provide an opportunity for qualified students to have the cost of tuition and mandatory fees covered in their entirety, allowing them to graduate with little or no debt. Additional practices like guaranteed (“frozen”) tuition, capped tuition schedule at 12 hours, and significantly funded work study program has increased retention rates to above 75% for Latino students.

Click here to view the UTRGV institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

University of Arizona (UA)

Recertified: 2022-2025

UA is a Hispanic serving research university in Tucson, Arizona, that serves nearly 40,000 undergraduates, of which over 28% are Latino.

Institutionalizing intentionality and empowering students to foster inclusive excellence for Latino students

Institutionalizing intentionality: The Office of HSI Initiatives was created to strengthen UA’s intentionality and approach to Latino student success university-wide. Located in the Office of the Provost, HSI Initiatives is supported with a strategic plan, a permanent budget with a growing number of staff, and leadership who serves on the President’s Senior Leadership Team. To strengthen HSI leadership among faculty and staff, the Office has established a flagship professional development experience, known as the HSI Fellows Program, to expand institutional capacity for supporting Latino students. The Office also received federal funds (Title V grant) to strengthen college-going outreach efforts with local high Latino-enrolling high schools, offer culturally responsive pre-calculus dual enrollment courses, and strengthen capacity to offer culturally responsive STEM engagement, transfer articulation, and research.

Empowering students: UA’s First Cats Initiatives program provides support to first-generation and Pell grant eligible students, offering students, faculty, and staff with opportunities to explore and take pride in their first-generation identity and experiences. About two-thirds of First Cats participants are Latino. The program connects first-generation students, faculty, and staff at various social and academic events, including community-building and cultural activities, workshops to bridge gaps in academic preparation, outreach programs for families, and coordinated peer mentoring. The program’s retention rate is 93% for full-time students and 83% for part-time students.

Click here to view the UA institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

University of California, Merced (UC Merced)

Certified: 2021-2024

Founded in 2005, UC Merced expanded the University of California’s commitment to the San Joaquin Valley, a region approximately 50% Latino. The most diverse of the UC system, UC Merced enrolls 8,194 undergraduates, 58% of which are Latino, 73% are first generation college students, and 63% are Federal Pell Grant recipients. Its most recent 6-year Latino graduation rate is 64% compared to the overall national graduation rate of 58%.

Two examples of intentionally SERVING: Pathway to admission and holistic academic advising

The pathway from admissions to Day 1 on campus ensures students feel a connection with UC Merced and quickly understand the supportive network available to them.UC Merced implements a series of services to drive enrollment and persistence, focusing on both outreach and post submitting their Statement of Intent to Register (SIR). From the Diversity Inclusive Webinar outreach series, to New Student Orientation with a Spanish track, to showcasing Latino student leaders and their organizations, to the Bobcat Calling campaign that minimizes summer melt (and answers questions for first-generation, low-income students) -- the focus is on targeted, tailored, and frequent touchpoints. Student success is targeted through multichannel communication to parents and students, online events and individualized services. Since 2011, applications from Latinos have increased by 83%, and Latinos choose to enroll at a higher rate than all other ethnic groups. Currently, our Latino student enrollment deposits have increased to a total of 1,861 incoming Latino students for the fall of 2021. In 2021 alone, the Bobcat callers in the Bobcat Caller program made 14,983 calls to admitted students and their families. For fall 2020, ethnicity was significantly associated with overall melt. We found that Latino students were less likely to melt overall (19%) than Asian American students (27%). In 2018, rates were not significantly different by group, but by 2019, Latino students had significantly lower melt rates than Asian American students.

The School of Social Science and Humanities (SSHA) is UC Merced’s largest school with about 3,662 students (64% identifying as Latino). SSHA has implemented a multi-pronged academic advising approach for undergraduate academic success consisting of: 1) the Mid-Semester Grade Intervention (a SMART goal check-in for students who have 2 or more non-passing grades); 2) the Academic Difficulty Support Meetings to help students return to good academic standing by the end of the semester; and 3) the Jump Start Your 3rd Year where students receive second-year advising to understand which outstanding degree requirements to complete. The strong Latino representation in SSHA has also increased demand for Latino-specific sponsored events and projects, including the Bilingual Ricardo El Segundo (Spanish Shakespeare), Luce Grant projects to support oral history projects for Spanish speaking communities, and UC Office of the President funded undergraduate research opportunities. SSHA’s comprehensive advising efforts have contributed to higher retention rates compared to university-wide retention rates. In 2019, SSHA had an 86% Latino second year retention rate compared to the 85% Latino retention rate for the university overall. SSHA’s academic advising support coupled with other support services reveal a stable, steady incline in SSHA Latino retention to 2nd year over the past 5 years (from 82% in 2016 to 86% in 2019). The intentionality of this academic advising initiative is intertwined with SSHA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategic plan Goal 1a to increase the representation of underrepresented faculty and staff within the school.

Click here to view the UC Merced institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

University of California, Riverside (UC Riverside)

Certified: 2021-2024

UC Riverside enrolls more than 22,000 undergraduates, including over 10,000 Chicano/Latino students, 80% of which identify as first-generation. The number of Chicano/Latino graduates has tripled from 942 in 2009-10 to 2,825 in 2019-20, and the 6-year graduation rate for Chicano/Latino undergraduates is 73% compared to the national average of 54%.

Two examples of intentionally SERVING: Integrated transfer path and research opportunities

UCR’s commitment to transfers has been key to its success with enrolling and graduating Chicano/Latino students. The university offers a clear path for community college transfers through a comprehensive set of successful tools and programs that facilitate their application and enrollment, including: UCR Transfer Pathways, a Transfer Admission Guarantee; the Puente Project; Transfer Admission Planner; a Majors Preparation Guide; and, ASSIST, a system that provides up-to-date information on transfer agreements honored by UCR. The Transfer Student Task Force of 2017 built on these programs by establishing a 2:1 enrollment ratio of entering freshmen to community college transfers. This resulted in a 44% increase in Hispanic transfer student enrollment from 2017-18 to 2018-19.

The university offers a number of programs that support Chicano/Latino student completion goals and prepares them for medical school, teacher preparation, and careers of critical need. Programs like the California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP), an NSF Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program, the UC Riverside MARC U Star Undergraduate Research Program (U-MARC), and the Mentoring Summer Research Internship Program (MSRIP) serve Latino students by providing research opportunities, financial support, and faculty mentoring. The CalTeach-SMI program partners with local, predominantly Latino school districts to provide mentoring opportunities for future STEM teachers. These programs have contributed to a 48% increase in the graduation of Latino students from 2016-17 to 2020-21.

Click here to view the UC Riverside institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

University of California, Santa Cruz (UC Santa Cruz)

Certified: 2022-2025

UC Santa Cruz (UCSC) has earned international distinction for its high-impact research and uncommon commitment to teaching, public service, and social justice. UCSC provides its students unparalleled learning opportunities through cutting-edge research and hands-on experiences. One of 10 University of California campuses, UCSC is an Hispanic-Serving Research Institution (HSRI) with 17,864 undergraduates, of which 28% are Latinx and 34% are first-generation college students.

Strengthening transfer and completion through relationship building and experiential learning

Transfer-receptive cultures: UCSC’s transfer strategy to create a transfer-receptive culture is research-based, predicated on relationship building among students, staff, and faculty, and sustained through transfer, retention, and graduation. UCSC’s transfer-receptive culture fosters relationships with prospective community college students, while also providing tools and resources to help them transfer successfully. Cultivamos Excelencia, a partnership with San Jose City College, is designed to increase transfer rates by offering cross-enrollment courses, providing cross-campus peer mentoring, and information about transfer admissions and financial aid to Latinx families. Key resources include the Transfer Preparation Program (TPP), the Transfer Admission Planner, an online tool that helps prospective transfer students plan coursework and communicate with UCSC staff; and the Transfer Admission Guarantee. Transfers through the Cultivamos Excelencia program increased 100% from nine in Fall 2015, of which 55% were Latinx, to an annual average of 18 from 2016-2020. On the other hand, Latinx participation in the TPP program increased from 22% in 2018-19 to 33% in 2021-22.

Experiential learning and completion: Core to UCSC’s completion strategy is degree coursework that involves experiential learning, faculty-led research or embedded in the coursework, and internships. These experiences are relevant and affirming, and bolster students’ academic identities and career trajectories. One example is the UC LEADS (Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees) program. Scholars engage in cutting edge research throughout the year and are subsequently encouraged to develop their research interests and training skills at another UC campus. Of 130 scholars that have participated in the program, 69 identify as Latinx. Of these, 57% enrolled in prestigious graduate schools and 87% are currently working in STEM sectors. In addition, the Social Science Division faculty conduct leading-edge research, frequently working with students in research clusters that link departments with Division-wide research centers. In 2021, the division awarded 51% of campus degrees to Latinx students. These evidence-based, high-impact practices contribute to significant improvements in Latinx 4-year graduation rates, from 55-59% over the past three years compared to 39-46% in previous years.

Click here to view the UC Santa Cruz institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

University of Central Florida (UCF)

Certified: 2021-2024

At UCF, minoritized students represent 48.5 percent of our student body and student enrollment reflects the area it serves. Latinos make up 29% of its undergraduate enrollment of over 60,000. UCF is one of three Hispanic-Serving Research Institutions in Florida, and believes innovation comes from the meeting of diverse viewpoints.

Two examples of intentionally SERVING: Leadership track and transfer pathway

LEAD is a selective two-year academic leadership development program inclusive of several high-impact practices such as: a cohort-based first-year seminar, a living-learning community, service-learning classes, and a capstone course. As an academic contribution to UCF’s HSI identity, LEAD launched a Latinx Leadership track (U-LEAD) for upperclassmen students (60+ credit hours). These classes provide students with the opportunity to learn a new leadership framework, complete research on Latinx topics, and commit to service-learning opportunities in the Latinx community. Latinx LEAD and U-LEAD students have stronger retention and graduation rates when compared to the general UCF population. The 2019-2020 retention rate for Latinx FTIC students in the LEAD first-year cohort is 95% compared to 92% for the UCF FTIC general population. The 4-year graduation rate for Latinx FTIC students in the LEAD first-year cohort is 58% compared to 46% for the UCF FTIC general population. The 2-year graduation rate for Latinx transfer students in the U-LEAD program (60+ credits) is 22% compared to 16% for UCF transfer students in general.

UCF reduces barriers and ensures the success of Latino transfers through several partnership programs. The DirectConnect to UCF program is a partnership with six Florida state colleges that seeks to reduce barriers for transfer students by offering a guaranteed admissions and transfer readiness program. In addition, success coaching is a practice that embeds UCF trained professionals at partner institutions as success coaches who can assist prospective students with application and enrollment processes. Intentional efforts have also been made to connect more Latino students and their families to resources that facilitate a seamless transfer to UCF, such as the revamped DC website that now includes a language translator to Spanish and other languages. For Fall 2020, 30% of total new enrollment at UCF was DC transfer students, 35% of which are DC Latino students. Also, more than 52% of newly enrolled DC undergraduates were Pell eligible compared to the 30% overall newly enrolled Pell eligible undergraduates.

Click here to view the UCF institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)

Certified: 2020-2023

UIC serves over 21,000 undergraduate students and is a diverse campus that mirrors the city of Chicago’s racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic community. The 2019 incoming student body was over 40% Hispanic, 56% first-generation, and 58% Pell eligible.

Two examples of SERVING: Engaging the campus community and increasing Latinx faculty representation

UIC’s gains on completion stem from the implementation of almost 125 recommendations borne out of extensive work started in 2012 by 8 task forces involving 200 faculty, staff, and students. The impact of this work is evident in LARES, one of UIC’s oldest programs, which now serves more than 3,300 students with tutoring, mentoring, advising, supplemental instruction, internships, leadership opportunities, and scholarships resulting in dramatic increases in graduation rates for participating Latino students.

UIC has also invested in several strategies to increase Latinx faculty representation. Among them are the following four: 1) the Pipeline to an Inclusive Faculty Program recruits and supports outstanding underrepresented PhD students interested in pursuing careers as faculty; 2) the Bridge to the Faculty Program recruits underrepresented scholars with the goal of transitioning them to a faculty position after two years; 3) a Faculty Administrator Leadership Program that provides underrepresented faculty a path to leadership positions in administration; and, 4) a cluster initiative to increase diversity and interdisciplinary culture designed to cultivate diverse academic leadership.

Click here to view the UIC institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)

Recertified: 2022-2025

UTEP, a Hispanic serving research university in El Paso, Texas, serves over 20,000 undergraduates of which about 85% are Latino. UTEP is the only open-access R1 university in the United States.

Community and data-informed strategies improving Latino student success

Connecting students to community: UTEP is reimagining its core curriculum courses to increase local relevance and engagement with the bicultural border community of El Paso County (84% Latino) as a strategy to increase retention of UTEP students (87% Latino). With the highest percentage of full-time Latino faculty among R1 universities (38% and growing), UTEP invested nearly $300,000 in 2021 on myriad efforts to incorporate community into the classroom, such as embedding a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) framework into course curricula, facilitating professional development for faculty on project-based learning and place-based learning, and engaging local experts and community partners in curriculum design. This strategy builds on UTEP’s approach to first-year student success, as retention rates for Latino students have consistently exceeded retention rates for all students since 2018.

Data-informed interventions: UTEP has spent significant time developing a metrics-based planning framework to identify actionable data. The Center for Institutional Evaluation, Research, and Planning (CIERP) tracks progress on key measures and develops tools that provide just-in-time data to campus units. One example of this, the Degree Completion Data Tool, allows academic colleges to track retention during the registration process and identify students who are eligible to re-enroll. The colleges then use this information to provide targeted interventions that help students overcome registration barriers. In Fall 2020, prior to slight dips during COVID, first-year retention and term-to-term retention reached historic highs of 77% and 85%, respectively, for first-time undergraduates including Latinos.

Click here to view the UTEP institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.

Wilbur Wright College (Wright College)

Certified: 2021-2024

Wilbur Wright College is an HSI institution in the Northwest of the city of Chicago. Of 6,000 students enrolled in spring 2021, 58% were Hispanic, 7% Black, and 8% Asian. The college awarded 1,900 degrees and certificates in 2019-20 and in 2020 it was also the recipient of the Campus Compact’s Eduardo J Padron award for institutional transformation.

Two examples of intentionally SERVING: Scholarships for progress and college preparation

The Chicago Star Scholarship Program has supported the progress of Latino students’ enrollment, retention, completion and transfer. The scholarship provides tuition and books for degree completion. Embedded transfer partners support and enhance with scholarships the transition of Star scholars to the university. At Wright College, a designated team monitors and tracks Star scholars from the point of recruitment to completion and transfer on a biweekly basis. Latino Star scholar graduates are highlighted in the Transfer Success Stories publication; they serve as inspiration and role models for incoming Latino Stars. We develop a sense of community within the Star scholars to foster engagement within and outside the campus community by hosting key events throughout the semester. The effectiveness of the program is evident in the academic performance of the Stars whose average GPA is 2.9, higher than both the City Colleges of Chicago general student population and other CCC Star scholars. For the Latinx Stars the average GPA is 2.9 as well. The retention rate of the Star scholars at Wright has been over 85% and for Latinx Stars the retention has been 84%, the IPEDS graduation rate has reached 48% and the transfer rate 52% within two years of degree completion. For the Latinx Stars the transfer rate is at 65%.

Wright College has been intentional about providing more Early College opportunities (dual enrollment and dual credit) to more high schools with large populations of Latinx students. More than 1,000 high school students annually participate. Wright recruiters and admissions specialists (bilingual and trained in cultural competencies) work alongside the faculty, administrators and high school teachers to ensure access to information and access to authentic college education to Latinx students. This also involves providing information and support to the families of students. Wright has fifteen Dual Credit high schools partners and many more high schools students participating in the Dual Enrollment program. Wright started offering bilingual programming - Noche de Familia - to highlight college information in Spanish to parents/guardians. Most students are the first in their family to attend college and most students identify as Latinx. The program has resulted in a 34% increase in the total number of Early College Students enrolling for the past five years with an average of 59% identifying as Hispanic for the past five years.

Click here to view the Wright College institutional page which includes Excelencia in Education analysis.