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The selected colleges programs are located in the states of New York, California, Illinois and Virginia. In addition, the programs are divided into Associate Level, Baccalaureate Level, Graduate Level and Community-Based Organizations (CBO).
The selected colleges programs are located in New York, California, Illinois and Virginia. The programs are divided into Associate Level, Baccalaureate Level, Graduate Level and Community-Based Organizations (CBO).

10 innovative programs that are making a positive impact on the success of Latino students

Learn about the programs in higher education that were recognized by Excelencia in Education

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Excelencia in Education is recognized by accelerates Latino student success in higher education by promoting Latino student achievement, conducting analysis to inform educational policies, and advancing institutional practices.

This year, Excelencia in Education recognizes 10 “Programs to Watch” from 4 states that are close to being finalists, or are up-and-coming programs that have already positively impacted the success of their Latino students and are growing their evidence of effectiveness.

During the annual Examples of Excelencia review and selection process, Excelencia identifies innovative and/or up-and-coming programs that are making a positive impact on the success of their Latino students as Programs to Watch. 

“Excelencia hopes that by bringing attention to these programs, we can encourage institutions, practitioners, funders, policy makers, and other stakeholders to keep an eye out as these programs continue to improve Latino student success,” says Excelencia in its website.

Since 2017, Excellence in Education has recognized a total of 86 programs.

Student-centered institutions recognize that programs need to evolve from one-size-fits-all into ones that can recognize the unique needs of students. These programs identified the specific needs their Latino populations encountered and are designing practices to address them.

Some of the common practices found throughout this year’s Programs to Watch include leveraging shared culture and language to build a sense of belonging and improving academic success, using targeted programs and peer support to strengthen educational transitions; and, building strong employment partnerships to support a more diverse workforce.

The selected colleges programs are located in the states of New York, California, Illinois and Virginia. In addition, the programs are divided into Associate Level, Baccalaureate Level, Graduate Level and Community-Based Organizations (CBO).

Here are the 10 Programs to Watch by Excelencia in Education:


Associate Level

  1. Pathway to Law School, Santa Ana College (CA) - The Santa Ana College (SAC) Pathway to Law program focuses on providing community college students with a streamlined transition into law school and contributing to a diverse paralegal workforce. Students receive exposure to law schools, advisement and mentoring from law school advisors, financial aid counseling, LSAT preparation, and waived application fees for admission in participating law schools. SAC's Pathway to Law has partnered with 7 law schools for priority admission. In the past five years, course success rates have increased from 77% to 86.2% and the program boasts a 70% job placement rate for program participants.
     
  2. First Year Experience Program, Long Beach City Colleges (CA) - The mission of the First Year Experience (FYE) Program aims to provide a welcoming experience for new students in their transition to college by providing opportunities for students to build a sense of belonging on campus, enhancing academic success to achieve educational goals, and introducing students to resources. The program has had a positive impact on student retention, between the 2016-2017 and 2020-2021 school years, the percentage of Latinx students attaining 15 transfer units has increased by 67%. Additionally, completion of transfer level math has increased for Latinx students, it was 75% higher in 2020- 2021 compared to 2016- 2017.
     
  3. Puente Project, Sacramento City College (CA) - Puente's mission is to increase the number of educationally underrepresented students who enroll in four-year colleges and universities, earn degrees and return to their communities as leaders and mentors to future generations. SCC was one of three original “pilot” programs in 1983, and has thrived following the program’s model of English Writing, Counseling and Mentoring, through a Learning Community. The retention rate for 2019-20 was 87% for Puente students, compared to 58% of all students at the college, and 68% for all Hispanic students. In Fall 2021, 93% of all students in Puente passed their ENGWR 300 corset, and 96% have persisted to the Spring 2022 semester.

Baccalaureate Level

4.   Academic Student Success Excellence Team Scholars Program, California State University - The Academic Student Success Excellence Team (ASSET) Scholars Program brings together specialized knowledge to provide First-year, first-generation, and undeclared students’ academic success and connection to CSUCI. The program consists of programming for students to help navigate the university culture, build connections with the campus, provide access to resources designed to promote academic success, and access to a community of their peers. The program has served 572 students, 77% of whom are Latinx, in their first semester since 2020. Within the Fall 2020 FTFT cohort, Latinx students were retained to the second year at a rate of 82% compared to 79% of white students.

5.   Flames Leadership Network, University of Illinois Chicago - The Flames Leadership Network’s (FLN) mission is to empower students to reach their fullest potential and achieve self-sufficiency in taking advantage of opportunities at UIC and beyond through a holistic, asset-based approach. FLN validates the Latinx student experience on campus by helping them develop a positive growth-mindset and critical skills to reach optimal success during their academic journey at UIC. In the pilot year (2017), FLN students were retained at 70% versus the eligible-decline group, 56%, and the control group, 50%.

Graduate Level

6.   Ánimo Latinx Counseling Emphasis, California State University, Fullerton - CSUF’s Department of Counseling Ánimo Latinx Counseling Emphasis aims to increase the number of bilingual and bicultural professional clinical counselors to provide culturally responsive mental health services to the Latinx community. Ánimo empowers Latinx graduate students to increase their sense of belonging in higher education and the mental health field, boosting retention/graduation rates. The program is poised for expansion given the high student demand and community need.

7.   Competitive Edge Summer Bridge Program for Incoming PhD Students, University of California, Merced - UC Merced’s Competitive Edge Summer Bridge Program is dedicated to excellence in mentoring and training that will guide Latino, first-generation and underrepresented minority students towards completing their doctoral degree and becoming leaders in academia, government, and industry. After five years in operation, the program has yielded a retention of 84% of program participants in comparison to the 60% retention rate for UC doctoral students not in the program.

Community-Based Organizations (CBO)

8.   Angelo Del Toro Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute, Questar III (NY) - The Angelo Del Toro Puerto Rican/Hispanic Youth Leadership Institute serves Puerto Rican/Hispanic High School students from across NYS to further our students’ mastery of educational standards, civic engagement, participation in government and critical thinking using Drs. Richard Paul and Linda Elder's Framework for Critical Thinking. The program strives to develop civically minded, critical thinkers, and advocates in high school students from across New York State who have a deep understanding of New York State government. 75% of alumni entered a four-year college program immediately after high school whereas 95% are currently enrolled in a two-year or four-year program.

9.   College Bound, Foundation for a College Education (CA) - Foundation for a College Education’s mission is to increase the number of students of color from East Palo Alto and similar communities who graduate from a four-year college or university. FCE has two major goals: high school success & graduation, and college enrollment & graduation. Throughout the school year, staff meet with students and their parents/guardians for tailored support, and monthly meetings with their whole class to build community and gain college access knowledge together. According to Excelencia, 100% of Latinx students enroll in college as compared to the national average of 36% and since 2019, of the 24 Latinx FCE students who graduated college, 21 (84%) graduated in 5 years.

10.   Emerging Leaders Program, Edu-Futuro (VA)- Edu-Futuro’s mission is to break the cycle of poverty by empowering immigrant and underserved youth and families through mentorship, education, leadership development, and parental engagement. They help low-income students build a path to college through their Emerging Leaders Program (ELP). Their primary goal for ELP is to assist Latino and immigrant students in developing the academic, leadership, and professional skills that will lead to high school graduation, college, and professional success. During the past three years, Edu-Futuro served 1,672 unduplicated students. Of the ELP II students who completed the program last year, 100% graduated from high school, 100% enrolled in college, and 73% secured a college scholarship and/or financial aid.

For more information about Excelencia in Education and its programs, click here.

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