These top programs increase Latino college success

Excelencia in Education adds 20 new programs to nation’s largest inventory of proven practices for accelerating degree completion among Latinos.

latino-collegeElected officials and higher education leaders from across the country came together in the nation’s capital for the announcement of the 2015 Examples of Excelencia, America’s top evidence-based programs that increase higher education achievement for Latino students.

Celebrating its 10th year, Examples of Excelencia is the only national initiative to systematically identify and promote evidence-based programs and departments effectively boosting Latino enrollment, performance and graduation. Over the past decade, Examples of Excelencia has reviewed more than 1,300 program nominations and recognized over 150 programs across the nation.

Excelencia in Education, the nonprofit that conceived and runs this national initiative, honored the following programs as the 2015 Examples of Excelencia:
• Associate Level: Early High Schools Program, South Texas College, McAllen, Texas
• Bachelor Level: STEM Program, Fresno Pacific University, Fresno, Calif.
• Graduate Level: Hispanic Center of Excellence, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Ill.
• Community-Based Organization: Nine-Week Parent Engagement in Education Program, Parent Institute for Quality Education, National City, Calif.

Using a multi-step, results-driven process and a committee of national experts, one Example of Excelencia each was selected from among 265 programs nominated from 30 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia in four categories: associate, baccalaureate, graduate, and community-based organization. Additionally, 16 programs were recognized as Finalists.

Examples of Excelencia was inspired by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s 1999 Convening on Latino Youth, a historic, first-ever White House gathering that resulted in the publication, “What Works for Latino Youth.”

To recognize this year’s anniversary, Clinton produced a special video tribute that premiered during today’s program.

“This program is near and dear to me,” said Clinton in the video message. “The programs you identify, support, and help grow have become a valuable resource for Latino students and their families. You’ve worked to give them the chance to finish college and live up to their own potential, and you have so many success stories to prove it works. Congratulations on 10 years of excellence. I’m very proud of you. Here’s to the next 10 years, and the 10 after that.”

“This whole process has helped me get myself educated and now I’m able to better educate my siblings and help them lead the road and not make the same mistakes that I did because I didn’t have anybody to lead me,” said Christopher Deleon, a double major in environmental studies and business enrolled in the STEM Program at Fresno Pacific University, this year’s Example of Excelencia in the baccalaureate category.

“The programs being recognized today contribute to a decade of sustained effort to identify, support, and grow programs that demonstrate through evidence and data they are at the forefront of improving higher educational achievement for Latino students,” said Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education. “We congratulate them for their current and continued efforts. By increasing awareness about effective programs like these and showing the impact of investing in what works, Examples of Excelencia is influencing higher education institutions to be accountable for serving Latino students.”

“Since being chosen as one of the Examples of Excelencia in 2008, our program has expanded, now having served nearly 2,500 students with over 70 percent being the first in their family to attend college,” said Dr. Richard Cherwitz, founder and director of the Intellectual Entrepreneurship Consortium at the University of Texas at Austin. “Best of all, we were able to leverage the Examples of Excelencia recognition to obtain over $300,000 of funding and support.”

The announcement event, Celebraciòn de Excelencia, coincided with the release of the 2015 edition of “What Works for Latino Student Success in Higher Education,” a compendium of all 20 recognized programs along with the evidence of their success. Through this annual process, Excelencia in Education continues to “call the question” about increasing Latino student success. At the same time, Excelencia in Education continues to expand America’s largest inventory of programs and strategies that education leaders, policymakers, and grant makers use to accelerate degree completion among Latinos.

To download “What Works for Latino Student Success in Higher Education,” which includes detailed information about all of the programs recognized today, visit

“We remain committed to advancing what works to support educators, community leaders, funders, and policymakers to take an asset-based approach to serving Latino students,” said Deborah Santiago, COO and vice president for policy of Excelencia in Education and author of the publication. “This has been a sustained effort for the past decade, and you can count on us to continue inspiring, informing, and supporting the recognition, replication and scaling of evidence-based practices that serve Latino students and thus serve the country.”

Examples of Excelencia is presented in collaboration with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The 2015 sponsors are ACT, Comcast NBCUniversal, Telemundo, Univision, DeVry Education Group, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, the Edwin Gould Foundation, PG&E Corporation, and the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Laura Ascione