A&M-San Antonio receives national Seal of Excelencia for its work serving Latino Students

By University Communications

Thursday, 11 04 2021

Excelencia in Education continues to catalyze change 
with transformational strategy to certify colleges and universities

San Antonio — Excelencia in Education, the nation’s premier authority on efforts to accelerate Latino student success in higher education, announced today that Texas A&M University-San Antonio is one of 10 exemplar institutions nationwide earning the 2021 Seal of Excelencia.

A&M-San Antonio, a Hispanic-Serving Institution, joins a prestigious group of 14 Seal-certified institutions in the country ensuring America’s future through their unwavering commitment to intentionally serving Latino students while serving all, according to Excelencia in Education. More than 75 percent of A&M-San Antonio students identify as Hispanic and nearly 73 percent are the first in their family to attend a university.

Today’s announcement was made during a hybrid virtual/in-person gathering broadcasted nationally from The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. James Kvaal, the U.S. Department of Education Under Secretary, delivered remarks.

“These Seal certified institutions have been able to articulate and demonstrate they are modeling the behavior we need to see to accelerate Latino student success. They are having measurable impact in changing the face of higher education,” said Deborah Santiago, co-founder and CEO of Excelencia in Education. “These 24 Seal-certified institutions are trendsetters. Combined, they enrolled 10 percent of all Latino college students and graduated 12 percent of all Latinos in the U.S. That is powerful and says a lot about their intentionality,” added Santiago.

“This recognition speaks to A&M-San Antonio’s intentionality in advancing academic support and services to provide opportunity for Latino students to pursue their academic dreams,” said Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson, president of A&M-San Antonio. “This certification also speaks to the university-wide effort demonstrated by an alignment across the three core areas of data, practice, and leadership,” said Teniente-Matson.

These efforts included providing evidence of effectiveness and intentionality in institutional practices serving Latino students, positive momentum for Latino student progress in their data, and dedication to transforming the institution into an environment where Latino students thrive as well as leadership strategies that clearly articulate institutional focus on advancing Latino student success. Of the thousands of colleges and universities across the country, the 135 presidents and chancellors of the 170 institutions in the organization’s network, Presidents for Latino Students Success, enroll one in four of all Latino students in higher education. These institutions account for one in three of all Latino graduates, according to Excelencia in Education.

Excelencia began Seal certification in 2019 as one of the organization’s transformational strategies to lead colleges and universities to go beyond simply enrolling Latino students. The Seal provides the means to use data and practice to instill intentionality in serving Latino students.

The 10 institutions earned Seal certification by demonstrating specific inclusive strategies, implementing programs with evidence of effectiveness, and registering results that showed they are intentionally serving Latino students amongst all of their students. For examples of how the institutions are intentionally SERVING their Latino and other post-traditional students, visit the Excelencia website.

Excelencia sees more institutions are striving to hold themselves accountable to intentionally SERVE Latino students with the Seal of Excelencia,” Brown said. “The institutions that earned it—as well as those striving to earn it—have told us that the Seal application process led to growth and institutional changes to better serve Latino students and all students. What they are accomplishing is the student success this country needs in order for the growing Latino population to be the educated workforce and engaged civic leaders our country needs now and, in the future,” Brown continued. “This is the reason we started the Seal of Excelencia in 2018. Now, it is here, and everyone can see the results happening in real time. This is a movement that is proving, unequivocally, it can be done.”


About Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Established as a stand-alone university in 2009, Texas A&M University-San Antonio is a comprehensive four-year public university that reflects the culturally diverse, heritage-rich community it serves. Situated on nearly 700 acres in south San Antonio, A&M-San Antonio is a military-embracing institution offering 33 undergraduate degrees and 16 graduate degrees to nearly 7,000 students. The University is home to the Henry G. Cisneros Institute for Emerging Leaders and the Cyber Engineering Technology/Cyber Security Research Center. A&M-San Antonio holds the Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) designation, with more than 75 percent of students who identify as Hispanic. Military Times ranks the University No. 35 in the nation for Best for Vets: Colleges.” Visit tamusa.edu for more information. #onamission


About Excelencia in Education

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 has established a network of results-oriented educators and policymakers to address the U.S. economy’s needs for a highly educated workforce and engaged civic leaders.

The Seal is not a ranking, nor an award. It is a rigorous verification process that culminates with certification. It is part of Excelencia’s tactical and systemic approach to: closing the education equity gap; meeting a goal of 6.2 million Latino students attaining college degrees by 2030; and supporting America’s civic and workforce needs by effectively preparing Latinos, now the nation’s second largest ethnic population. For more information, visit: https://www.edexcelencia.org/.

“We are proud that by creating the Seal of Excelencia, we have catalyzed a transformation in higher education. It is gratifying to see that even during a pandemic and national reckoning for social justice, we doubled the number of institutions that were Seal-certified this year. That shows a need and real desire to accelerate Latino student success. Excelencia shows how institutions can lead the way through these challenging times.” —Sarita Brown, Excelencia’s co-founder and president.+++