Supporting Latinos’ economic well-being through higher education

by Deborah Santiago and Janette Martinez

At a time that’s ripe for policy change — due to the continuing health pandemic and the longstanding epidemic of systemic inequities — it’s time for policymakers to act boldly while keeping Latino students front of mind. This is why today, Excelencia in Education released our policy agenda to inform the ongoing conversations around higher education, specifically with a Latino lens.

Latinos have been significantly hit by the economic and health impacts of COVID-19. About 1 in 5 Latinos lost a job or were furloughed, and almost half of Latinos lost work hours, resulting in a decrease in income. And Latinos are disproportionally represented among COVID-19 cases and deaths. Returning to the status quo is not enough to support Latino student success or help our country recover from the pandemic. Indeed, policymakers must keep the Latino community top of mind, including when it comes to improving higher education.

Excelencia’s policy agenda advocates for policies to increase degree attainment and close equity gaps to accelerate Latino student success based on the current educational realities. In working with practitioners this past year, four issues were continually front and center in their daily efforts to support Latino student success: 1) affordability, 2) institutional capacity, 3) retention and transfer, and 4) workforce preparation.

Policy must keep up with the evolving challenges and opportunities to serve students. To meet our mission of accelerating Latino student success, we must increase degree attainment and close equity gaps. An overview of why we chose these issues for our policy agenda and how to address them is below.


Institutional capacity

Retention and transfer

Workforce preparation

Read Excelencia’s complete policy agenda on our website.

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