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Online Policy Center To Focus on Latino Success In Higher Ed

Most people are probably not aware that more than six-in-ten of the nation's Latino undergraduates are enrolled in only 11 percent of the nation's colleges and universities. A new online resource center, the Hispanic SERVING Institutions Center for Policy and Practice, will provide comprehensive information on these Hispanic-Serving Institutions, also known as HSIs, whose student bodies are over one quarter Hispanic.

"This new center will help us fill an important void for policy makers and institutional, community, philanthropic, and business leaders seeking to better understand HSIs in order to improve Latino student success," said Excelencia in Education vice president Deborah Santiago.

Excelencia in Education, a national nonprofit that uses data and analysis to identify and promote best practices in order to increase Hispanic college completion, will launch the online center in September with a grant from the nonprofit TG corporation.

Nationally, only 20 percent of Latino adults have a post-secondary degree, compared to 36 percent of all U.S. adults. In California, only 16 percent of Latino adults over 25 have an associate or bachelor's degree, compared to 38 percent.

There has been a narrowing of the gap between Latino and non-Latino college graduates for those who attend traditional, four-year colleges. The gap dropped to 9 percent in 2014 from 14 percent in 2012. But when part-time students - who account for half of Latino enrollments - are counted, Latino college completion is much lower.

The federal government does not maintain a list of current HSIs and there is no central location to access research on these institutions. Sarita Brown, president of Excelencia in Education, recently stated that Latinos need to earn 5.5 million more college degrees by 2020 for the U.S. to regain the top ranking for college degree attainment.

Related: Latino College Completion Rates Low Despite Enrollment

--Sandra Lilley