New initiative to help HSIs better support working, adult Latine students

It’s National Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) Week, and although more Latine students are graduating from college than ever before, there is still a wide gap between those students and their white peers. Around 32 percent of Latine students graduate from college in four years, compared with 45 percent of white students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. A new initiative—called the Adult Learner 360 Academy for HSIs—will work to reduce that disparity, according to The Hechinger Report.

Launched by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) in partnership with Excelencia in Education, the Adult Learner 360 Academy for HSIs is a three-year program that will help 15 HSIs better support working, adult Latine students. HSIs are two- or four-year institutions where at least 25 percent of enrolled students are Latine. After collecting input from students, faculty and staff at participating schools, the initiative will use a diagnostic tool to pinpoint where and how those HSIs can better use their resources to support adult Latine students. The initiative also will provide professional development for staff at participating HSIs.

“Less than one in four Latino adults has a college degree,” Deborah A. Santiago, co-founder and CEO at Excelencia in Education, said in a statement. “The opportunity to partner with CAEL and institutions committed to improve their efforts with Latino adult students advances our shared national goals of accelerating Latino student success for a better educated workforce and citizenry.”

A new Gallup and Excelencia in Education study further reinforces the importance of initiatives that strengthen HSIs. The survey, which included responses from graduates of 12 HSIs, indicates that Latine graduates of HSIs that “have inclusive environments with strong support systems and career services to help Latino students succeed” are more likely than the average U.S. college graduate to lead “fulfilling professional, personal, and social lives.”

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