Excelencia in Education Names Top Four Latino Student Success Programs

Updated Oct 29, 2021

Excelencia in Education — a national organization dedicated to Latino student success — has named four evidence-based programs as its 2021 Examples of Excelencia.

Each year, the organization highlights programs that stand out as "models of culturally responsive, asset-based efforts with evidence of effectiveness in recruiting, retaining, graduating, and preparing Latino students for success in the workforce." This year, Excelencia received 145 program submissions representing 23 states and Puerto Rico. Of those submissions, 21 finalists were identified, all of which will be included in Excelencia’s "Growing What Works Database" — intended for institutional leaders, funders and policymakers who are interested in learning about best practices for Latino students.

At its annual Celebración de Excelencia, virtually broadcasted in Washington, D.C., Excelencia announced this year's top four programs. They include:

  • Ambiciones at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland, was recognized as the top associate level program. The program helps students and families navigate the college entrance process and provides tailored support services such as advising, financial aid support and culturally specificExcellencia Logo2 programming to enrolled students. According to Howard Community, the most recent fall-to-fall retention rate for first-year/full-time participants was 79% compared to 58% for non-program participants.
  • Cardinal First at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, was recognized as the top baccalaureate level program. Cardinal First (CF) is a "cohort-based program welcoming 1st generation college students and their families that recognizes and celebrates their identity as an asset and intentionally connects them to faculty, resources, and experiences to promote academic and personal success," states Excelencia. "Average 1st-to-3rd year retention rates for Latino students in CF is 85% vs. 69% for all Latino students and 47% for Latino 1st-gen students not in CF."
  • Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training of UT Health San Antonio, Institute for Health Promotion Research in San Antonio, Texas, was recognized as the top graduate level program. "Éxito! provides a culturally tailored curriculum for Latino students and health professionals to promote pursuit of a doctoral degree and cancer research career," states Exclencia. "Of alumni, 72% were employed full-time and over half work in a field related to cancer health."
  • College Success Program at Conexión Américas in Nashville, Tennessee, was recognized as the top community-based organization program. "The College Success Program’s primary goal is to equip first-generation Latino college students to persist in and graduate from college ready to pursue their careers," states Excelencia. "The program’s college completion rate for Latino participants was 74% compared to 64% for a similar cohort of Latino students in the National Student Clearinghouse data for Tennessee."