Excelencia in Education study finds higher graduation rates among Latinos and higher financial investment at most selective institutions

Profile of Latinos at top colleges reveals effective practices and importance of funding


WASHINGTON, May 10, 2016 – While only 12 percent of Latino college students are enrolled at the most selective institutions, their graduations rates at those institutions are significantly higher, a new analysis from Excelencia in Education finds. 

“From Selectivity to Success: Latinos at Selective Institutions" examines the profile of Latino students at the most selective institutions in the United States and seeks to understand what those institutions are doing that explicitly and intentionally supports Latino student success.  Notably, there are significantly higher expenditures at the most selective institutions.

"Latinos at the most selective institutions graduate at much higher rates than Latinos at less selective institutions.  Excelencia’s analysis shows these institutions invest significantly in the instructional, academic support, and student services of their students and have institutional practices intentionally serving Latino students," said Deborah Santiago, COO and vice president for policy of Excelencia in Education.

Excelencia’sanalysis also examined four of the most selective universities in California, including the University of La Verne, Stanford University, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of California, Berkeley, to understand how those institutions effectively serve Latino students.

Findings from Excelencia’s analysis include:

Enrollment:Latinos’ representation at the most selective institutions is increasing.  A larger number of qualified students, including Latinos, are applying to selective institutions.  While institutional capacity to enroll more students has not grown and admittance has gotten more competitive, Latinos’ representation is still increasing at many of the most selective institutions.

Graduation:Latinos’ are much more likely to graduate in a timely manner if they attend the most selective institutions.  The graduation rate for Latinos at the most selective institutions (68 percent) is significantly higher than their graduation rate at less- selective four-year institutions (47 percent) or two-year institutions (17 percent) in 2013-14. However, Latinos’ graduation rate at the most selective institutions is lower than the rate for all students.  Within the most selective institutions, Latinos’ graduation rate was 68 percent compared to the graduation rate for all students of 74 percent in 2013-14.

ResourcesThe most selective institutions of higher education spend significantly greater resources on students than less selective institutions.  The most selective institutions have average expenses per full-time equivalent student of about $36,600 compared to $28,500 at other four-year institutions and $13,300 at two-year institutions in 2013-14.

Institutional Representation: Very few of the most selective institutions have a high concentration of Latino enrollment.  Of the 503 most selective institutions, only 17 had Latino enrollment that is 25 percent or higher and were also identified as Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) in 2013-14.

Excelencia in Education developed this analysis with support from the Gilbert and Jacki Cisneros Foundation.

“As a foundation that works to cultivate a community that supports educational success for Latinos, our aim was to identify the key factors that lead to their success. Part of that success will come from having students attend the best possible university or college that they are academically qualified for,” said Gilbert Cisneros, President of the Gilbert and Jacki Cisneros Foundation. “This research will allow us to work with the educational community to both model and implement these newfound practices at selective higher education institutions. With the right resources and support at colleges and universities throughout the nation, we can close the Latino achievement gap.”