San Antonio College earns prestigious Seal of Excelencia certification

September 30, 2022

Office of Marketing & Strategic Communication


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Excelencia in Education, the nation’s premier authority on efforts accelerating Latino student success in higher education, announced San Antonio College has been certified with the prestigious Seal of Excelencia in 2022 for demonstrating through data, evidence-based practices, and leadership, how it is intentionally serving Latino students.

This marks the fourth year Excelencia, a Latina-led organization founded to accelerate Latino student success in higher education, has offered the Seal of Excelencia—a national certification process supporting institutional transformation to serve Latino, and all, students.

The Seal of Excelencia framework was developed with colleges and universities over many years as a tool for institutional self-assessment. The Seal certification is valid for three years and institutions committed to a journey of transformation to intentionally serve their Latino students may choose to apply.

“San Antonio College is honored to receive the Seal of Excelencia certification,” said Dr. Francisco Solis, interim president of SAC. “We are a Hispanic Serving Institution with  more than 60 percent Latino student population. We are deeply gratified that our work to ensure all our students succeed has been recognized.”

Excelencia recognized SAC and five other institutions which earned the Seal of Excelencia for the first time, and nine institutions that were recertified. These institutions join 15 other Seal-certified institutions from around the country. Combined, the 30 Seal-certified institutions enrolled 13 percent and graduated 14 percent of all Latinos in the U.S. for the most recent year, and they are projecting to continue increasing their efforts to lead the nation.

Excelencia in Education created the Seal of Excelencia to differentiate institutions that became Hispanic-Serving Institutions because of demography and geography from those that are Hispanic-Serving because of intentionality and impact,” said Deborah Santiago, Co-founder and CEO of Excelencia. “The Seal provides a road map for all institutions, led by data, practice, and leadership, that does not end with the certification. It supports a path to intentionally making progress in serving Latino students.” 

Besides SAC, the other newly certified Seal of Excelencia institutions are: Mercy College (NY), Texas State University (TX), University of Albany – State University of New York (NY), University of California, Santa Cruz (CA), and University of Texas at Arlington (TX).

An institution earns the Seal by demonstrating alignment across the three core areas of data, practice, and leadership, which show:

  • Evidence of effectiveness and intentionality in institutional practices serving Latino students
  • Positive momentum for Latino student progress in their data
  • Dedication to transforming the institution into an environment where Latino students thrive
  • Strategies in leadership that clearly articulate institutional focus on advancing Latino student success

Excelencia Co-founder and President Sarita Brown said, “We are animated by the positive and engaged responses to the Seal of Excelencia by many people and institutions. We launched the Seal in 2018 because, after years of offering information and evidence-based tactics and strategies to support colleges and universities we saw a slow response to the vibrant and growing Latino student population. Excelencia has 18 years of experience and know-how to support institutions and their leaders who are ready to transform to SERVE Latino students. We recognized Excelencia could do more to support these institutions and that together we would move faster.”

Brown continued, “The response to the Seal of Excelencia by colleges and universities is evidence of leadership within higher education and its capacity to meet this moment in our country. Excelencia continues making common cause with leaders from all sectors who recognize that supporting the success of today’s Latino college students grows our country’s talent and ensures America’s bright future.”

The Seal is not a ranking, nor an award. It is a rigorous verification process that culminates with certification. Excelencia began Seal certification 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.