by Julieta Rico and Deborah Santiago

Many Latino college students have persisted, despite being disproportionately negatively affected by COVID-19, with institutional support. This year, Excelencia in Education invited programs to share how their work was impacted by COVID-19 and how they adapted to better SERVE their Latino, and all, students. Of the programs that chose to reply, a consistent theme found was adapting and doubling down on efforts to prioritize Latino student success and well-being in six culturally responsive ways: 1) cariño (care), 2) comunidad (community), 3) familia (family), 4) flexibility, 5) direct outreach, and 6) support.

For more than…


By Deborah Santiago and Emily Labandera

Latino and Black students’ enrollment and retention have decreased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. From Spring through Fall 2020, both student groups saw disproportionate declines in enrollment and retention.

In the five years before the pandemic (Fall 2014 to Fall 2019), Latino students’ enrollment grew by 24%.¹ And in the year prior, Latino students were the only ethnic group making gains in enrollment (up 1.4% from Fall 2018 to Fall 2019).² During this same time, Black students’ enrollment had decreased by 4.6%. …


by Deborah Santiago and Janette Martinez

Providing a guaranteed amount of funding for Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), regardless if they’ve applied for a Title V grant, sends a core message of commitment and support for Hispanic-Serving Institutions. In a previous post, we argued that to more equitably support Latino student success, via the institutions that educate them, all HSIs should receive annual funding. How would the guarantee work and how much money would institutions receive? In this brief, we detail current allocation processes for funding for HSIs, including Title V grants and CARES Act funding; we then provide options for a…


Ellen Lee, Policy & Research Intern

As a DACA recipient, I carry a degree of privilege and access that undocumented students do not. At school, I am able to work legally under a work permit and hold a driver’s license, while undocumented students are not. Despite these important differences, several terms have been created through immigration policy and refer to a snapshot in immigration history as well as different levels of access to participating in society. Often these terms are used interchangeably, and incorrectly, to address a complex group of undocumented students. Policymakers have the opportunity to be clear by…


by Ellen Lee, Policy and Research Intern

As I prepare to graduate, I reflect on the ways in which my journey in higher education as a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) student could have been improved through policy changes. I am one of more than 450,000 undocumented students in higher education — 216,000 of whom are DACA-eligible and from various racial and ethnic backgrounds. Even though I do not identify as Latino, almost half of all undocumented students are Latino, making them an important part of the Latino community.

The federal government, including the Biden administration and Congress, must…


by Deborah Santiago and Janette Martinez

Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) status is predicated on enrollment of Latino students. The data on HSIs are, quite literally, a starting point as they only capture student enrollment. However, these data can encourage higher education into thinking not only about how to enroll Latino students, but how to SERVE them. The data in Excelencia in Education’s new analysis shows continued growth in the numbers of institutions enrolling a high concentration of Latino students — Hispanic-Serving Institutions. However, the data do not show us the impact of the pandemic on student enrollment nor does it tell…


by Deborah Santiago and Janette Martinez

Addressing current student debt but not addressing other aid can exacerbate some of the inequities we seek to address through loan forgiveness. We must support both current borrowers and future students. As policymakers debate how to provide economic relief and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, they should be aware of impact thresholds for the broader Latino population. Any amount of loan forgiveness would provide relief to Latino borrowers, and investing in additional aid will help ensure future students are able to enroll in higher education and complete their postsecondary degrees.

What amount of student loan debt forgiveness would help Latino borrowers?

Current debates around loan…


by Deborah Santiago and Janette Martinez

Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) disproportionately educate the majority of Latino students across the nation. As policymakers consider how to best support Latino students and HSIs, leveraging current programs and efforts provides an immediate opportunity for action. Title V, the Developing HSIs program, of the Higher Education Act (HEA) is such a program. Every year, the number of HSIs grows and outpaces the amount of funding available. Since Title V is a competitive program (eligible HSIs are not guaranteed funding), receiving funds from this program also grows more competitive every year. …


by Deborah Santiago and Janette Martinez

Latinos have been hard hit by the economic and health effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the road to recovery requires equitable access and completion in higher education for Latinos .Throughout this election year, policy proposals around improving higher education to better serve students emerged. As the nation and a new Congress considers how to best support Latinos and their postsecondary success, it’s important to take a closer look at the data and ensure that policy proposals address issues of educational equity.

Excelencia in Education’s analyzed five proposals to determine if they would support…


by Deborah Santiago and Janette Martinez

Excelencia’s analysis of federal data on Latino students shows that while all of these proposals would benefit Latino students, each one alone would not be enough to meet the needs of Latino students to ensure they succeed in postsecondary education.

On and off the campaign trail, common policy proposals emerged around improving higher education to better serve students. As the nation and a new Congress consider how to best support Latinos and their postsecondary success, it’s important to take a closer look at the data and ensure that policy proposals address issues of educational…

Excelencia in Education

Excelencia informs, leads, & accelerates Latino student success in higher education through research, evidence-based practices, and leadership.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store