New analysis on Latinos in Higher Education will accelerate success

Austin Community College District (ACC) is one of 24 colleges and universities selected nationwide to help release a series of fact sheets to inform action, mobilize intentionality, and accelerate Latino student success. It is part of Excelencia in Education’s leadership partners group to release timely new analysis on the evolving opportunities for Latino students — one of the fastest growing populations in higher education — and the institutions serving them.

Latinos in Higher Education: 2024 Compilation of Fast Facts” represents a series of fact sheets containing an array of information on the profile of Latino students and their journeys to and through college.

“We have to know who our students are in order to meet their needs to enroll and complete. If we can work to help our students start strong and meet their basic needs, we will improve their outcomes,” says ACC Chancellor Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart. “I am proud that ACC continues to be a leader in finding solutions and serving as a model for student success across the country. This information gives us the data and guidance we need to ensure we can support all students to not just come to college but succeed.”

Excelencia’s analysis shows that ​​Latinos:

  • More likely to be the first in their family to attend college.
  • More likely to receive the federal Pell Grant than any other group.
  • Less likely to take out a student loan.
  • Have the highest labor force participation, but are more likely to be represented in occupations with lower salaries. 

Institutions enrolling Latinos are predominantly Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). These colleges represent 20% of all institutions in the nation — yet they educate 63% of all Latinos in the nation. ACC is among them. 

The Hispanic student population at ACC is the fastest-growing demographic at the college. In fall 2023, the college enrolled approximately 14,600 Hispanic students, which makes up 41% of total enrollment. That is up almost 3% from fall 2019. Completion rates also are one of the fastest growing among Hispanic students, improving 37% from academic year 2019 to academic year 2023. 

“Gathering this data allows us to approach our decisions with creativity, thoughtfulness, and strategy to invest in the things that are going to be most helpful for our students, community, and the state,” says Dr. Jenna Cullinane Hege, Institutional Research & Analytics vice chancellor. “Having a complete look from not only ACC but other institutions helps us understand students and create a model to serve all of them. When we gather the right information we can develop systems that will meet any student where they are”

“For 20 years, Excelencia has tracked and provided analysis on Latino students in higher education to inform action and catalyze institutional transformation,” says Deborah Santiago, co-founder and CEO of Excelencia and lead researcher on the analysis. “The trailblazing institutions supporting the analysis recognize the opportunity to leverage this information as they continue their efforts to intentionally serve the growing number of Latino students on their campuses.”

Excelencia in Education is a national organization accelerating Latino student success in higher education. The organization awarded ACC with the National Seal of Excelencia for its positive role in serving Latino students in 2019. The college was recertified in 2022, and in 2023 it was recertified for a 12th straight year as an HSI.

Seal-certified institutions represent less than 1% of colleges and universities yet enroll 15% and graduate 17% of all Latino students. In 2023, ACC’s Chancellor was selected for the national leadership effort for Latino College Completion: US and Ensuring America’s Future — an exhaustive and current analysis on Latino enrollment and graduation rates, along with successful programs catering to Latinos at the institutional, national, and state levels. The network represents only 6% of institutions yet enrolls 33% and graduates 35% of all Latino students.

Excelencia brings this analysis to the public with support from 24 college and university presidents and chancellors who have earned the Seal of Excelencia and serve as national leaders for Latino student success,” says Sarita Brown, co-founder and president of Excelencia. “We are honored to make common cause to assert that increasing the numbers of Latinos that earn college degrees is essential for ensuring America’s bright future.” 

To learn more about “Latinos in Higher Education: 2024 Compilation of Fast Facts,” visit