California State University, Northridge has earned the Seal of Excelencia, a national certification that recognizes colleges and universities that serve Latinx students with intentionality, while serving all students by utilizing the framework of data, practice and leadership. Excelencia in Education bestowed the seal to CSUN and eight other institutions at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. during Hispanic Heritage Month
“We are deeply grateful for Excelencia in Education’s leadership in accelerating Latinx student success in higher education, and we are so proud to advance this work on our own campus, as well as in partnership with Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Seal-certified institutions around the country,” said CSUN President Erika D. Beck. “This recognition affirms that we are on the right path—the path of authentically serving our Latinx students by enabling their journey to a life forever transformed by a college degree. It also affirms that we are creating and fostering the conditions that accelerate Latinx success, and by extension, improving outcomes for all of our students.”
CSUN joins 38 other institutions from across the country that have earned the Seal of Excelencia since 2019. Combined, these institutions enroll over 15 percent and graduate 17 percent of all Latinx students and, together with Excelencia in Education, they lead and transform higher education to advance Latinx talent and leadership, so vital to the country’s workforce and economy.
“There is a real difference between colleges and universities that enroll Latinx students and those that intentionally serve them,” said Deborah Santiago, co-founder and CEO of Excelencia in Education. “Those that earn the Seal are trendsetters on a journey of transformation, showing what it takes to progressively increase positive outcomes for Latinx, and all students, for others ready to meet the mission.”
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 serves to lead colleges and universities beyond simply enrolling students, to authentically and intentionally serving Latinx students, to the benefit of all.
CSUN employs several strategies that support its Latinx students, who make up 57 percent of the approximately 36,000 students enrolled at the university, as well as students from other historically underrepresented communities.
Intentional practices and strategies contributing to CSUN’s success include expanding mental health and basic needs services; CSUN Mentor Connect, a scalable mentoring program for all incoming freshmen and transfer students; Bridge to the Future (B2F) Scholars program, a campus-community collaboration with Canoga Park High School providing a tuition free four-year CSUN education; and enhancing data functionality to include evidence-based practices that intentionally analyzes data to improve outcomes for Latinx students. University officials said these efforts underpin a blueprint of institutional practices and strategies that operationalize CSUN’s commitment to serving Latinx students.
CSUN is ranked first among public four-year universities for both the percentage of Latinx students enrolled and the greatest number of bachelor’s degrees earned by Latinx students by Excelenica in Education and has received additional national recognition for success in serving Latinx students, including distinction as a Fulbright Hispanic Serving Institution Leader by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and being named an Equity Champion for Higher Education by the Campaign for College Opportunity. Collectively these achievements highlight CSUN’s journey of intentionality to move beyond enrolling to authentically serving and graduating Latinx students while serving all, university officials said.