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College Forward most effective in improving Latino student college success

College Forward added to America’s largest inventory of proven practices for accelerating degree completion among Latinos

Hillary Clinton video message marks 10 years of national initiative inspired by her work on Latino higher education issues as First Lady

Austin, TX – Elected officials and higher education leaders from across the country come together at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. today to announce the 2015 Examples of Excelencia, America’s top programs that increase higher education achievement for Latino students. Excelencia in Education, the non-profit that conceived and runs this national initiative, honored College Forward’s program as a National Finalist among America’s top programs that increase academic opportunities and increase achievement for Latino students.

College Forward was selected from among 265 programs from 30 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia nominated in four categories: associates degree, bachelors degree, graduate degree, and community-based organization.

College Forward is an Austin-based college access and success program whose intensive, culturally-appropriate mentoring propels underserved students to collegiate success. With a goal of building and sharing effective solutions, they collaborate with other respected practitioners across Texas and the U.S. to combine and distill ‘best practices’ into highly-efficient program models, supported by a robust student information system that both drives student outcomes and yields critical data for longitudinal research. College Forward’s goal is to put themselves out of business by 2040” by developing, proving, and systematizing strong mentoring programs and interventions that support low-income and first-generation students throughout the higher education pathway. Since 2003 College Forward has delivered a college access and completion program to Hispanic students that gets results: 99% of College Forward’s students apply to and are accepted to higher education, 90% matriculate within one year of high school graduation, and 45% complete postsecondary education.

“We are honored to be named as a finalist for the Examples of Excelencia initiative,” says College Forward Executive Director Austin Buchan. “We view this important designation as a call to continue our relentless pursuit of our mission to ensure that all underserved, motivated Hispanic students achieve the benefits of higher education and a college degree.”

Examples of Excelencia is the only national initiative to systematically identify and promote evidence-based programs and departments effectively boosting Latino enrollment, performance and graduation. Celebrating its 10th year, Examples of Excelencia was inspired by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s 1999 Convening on Latino Youth, a historic, first-ever White House gathering that resulted in the publication, “What Works for Latino Youth.” To mark this year’s anniversary, Clinton produced a special video tribute that premiered during today’s program. Over the past decade, Examples of Excelencia has reviewed more than 1,300 program nominations and recognized over 150 programs across the nation.

Today’s announcement event, Celebraciòn de Excelencia, coincided with the release of the 2015 edition of “What Works for Latino Student Success in Higher Education,” a compendium of all 20 recognized programs along with the evidence of their success. Through this annual process, Excelencia in Education continues to grow America’s largest inventory of programs and strategies that education leaders, policymakers, and others tap into to accelerate degree completion among Latinos.

“As one of this year’s Finalists, College Forward is at the forefront improving higher educational achievement for Latino students and we congratulate them for their current and continued efforts,” said Sarita Brown, President of Excelencia in Education. “By increasing awareness of top programs like this, informing program strategies, and reinforcing investment in what works, Examples of Excelencia is creating new energy and inspiring a network of action-oriented leaders to discover and implement innovations that are effective with Latino and other post-traditional students.”

To download “What Works for Latino Student Success in Higher Education,” which includes detailed information about all of the programs recognized today, visit

“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,” said Deborah Santiago, COO and Vice President of Excelencia in Education and author of the publication. “You can count on us to continue inspiring, informing, and supporting the recognition, replication and scale of evidence-based practices that serve Latino students and thus serve the country.”

Examples of Excelencia is presented in collaboration with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The 2015 sponsors are ACT, Comcast NBCUniversal, Telemundo, Univision, DeVry Education Group, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, the Edwin Gould Foundation, the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, and PG&E Corporation.

Excelencia in Education accelerates Latino student success in higher education by promoting Latino student achievement, conducting analysis to inform educational policies, and advancing institutional practices while collaborating with those committed and ready to meet the mission. Launched in 2004 in the nation’s capital, Excelencia is building a network of results-oriented educators and policymakers to address the U.S. economy’s need for a highly educated workforce and engaged civic leadership. For more information, visit:

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