4 Programs Honored for Boosting Latino College Success

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By Griselda Nevarez

Programs helping Latino high school students earn college credit hours, pursue STEM or health careers and giving their parents college information have been singled out for boosting the number of Latinos enrolling and successfully graduating from college.

The non-profit organization Excelencia in Education selected four programs as this year’s Examples of Excelencia.

Every year, Excelencia in Education selects four categories: associate, baccalaureate, graduate, and community-based organizations. Here are the 2015 winners:

The Early College High Schools Program at South Texas College in McAllen, Texas, was chosen as this year’s Example of Excelencia in the associate category. The program gives students a head start on college by helping them earn college credit hours while they’re still in high school.

In the baccalaureate category, the STEM Program at Fresno Pacific University in Fresno, Calif. works to support Latino, first-generation and low-income students who are seeking a degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM).

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The Hispanic Center of Excellence at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago, Ill., was selected as this year’s Example of Excelencia in the graduate category. Starting in high school, the center encourages Latino students to pursue health careers.

And the Nine-Week Parent Engagement in Education Program in National City, Calif., was selected as this year’s Example of Excelencia in the community-based organization category. The program equips parents with the information, skills and tools they need to ensure their children are prepared for college.

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All four programs selected this year as Examples of Excelencia—as well as 16 finalists and 265 mentions in all - are detailed in a report called “What Works for Latino Student Success in Higher Education.”

“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,” Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education, said in a statement.

Since its start in 2005, Examples of Excelencia has reviewed more than 1,300 program nominations and recognized more than 150 programs across the country; it's the only initiative of its kind using metrics and data to specifically single out what is helping increase Latino college completion.

“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,” Deborah Santiago, CEO and vice president for policy of Excelencia in Education, said in a statement.

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