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The Academy Model in Action: LASS

The Latino Adult Student Success (LASS) academy is a community of peer institutions working toward better support of adult and Latino adult students. Participants use data to examine adult learner satisfaction and institutional effectiveness, identify inequities and opportunities, and create targeted action plans to address these barriers to adult learner success.

LASSA 2020 Meeting

The U.S. Census Bureau predicts the population of Hispanic Americans will grow to 111 million by 2060, or 27.5 percent of the population, up from 18.5 percent of the population in 2019. Many Latino-enrolling institutions are developing intentional strategies for supporting their Latino students and their success—and these efforts are paying off. The share of Hispanic adults with at least an associate degree has risen 15 percentage points since 2000. Still, a significant completion gap remains. As of 2019, only 27 percent of Hispanic adults had completed an associate degree or higher. compared to 46.4 percent of the overall population having an associate degree or above (adults 25 and older). As Institutions continue to support Latino student success, it is important that they also focus on the needs of the Latino adult student whose postsecondary experiences may be different from students transitioning to college directly from high school.

"I cannot stress enough the support that both CAEL and Excelencia have provided for this project. Their guidance through this process has been a real help as they continuously have made themselves readily and easily available to assist the university. Dr. Eyra Perez with Excelencia has been a tremendous help by providing us with creative ideas in collecting information/data. Mr. Rafael Pasillas with CAEL has guided us through this whole process by keeping us on track on what is up and coming."

Dr. Gerardo Moreno

Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs,
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Glasscock Student Success Center

LASS Overview

Discover the story of the Latino Adult Student Success Academy in action and how it already is translating into positive results at one of our participating institutions, Florida International University.


LASS: A 2019-2021 Adult Learner Academy Cohort

The Latino Adult Student Success (LASS) Academy is a three-year initiative (2018-2021) that is providing tools for Latino enrolling institutions to examine closely how they are serving their adult students, while offering support in implementing new policies and practices to drive better enrollment, persistence, and completion of adult Latino students. CAEL is partnering with Excelencia in Education to support this cohort of Academy institutions, which is made possible with funding from The Kresge Foundation, Ascendium Education Group, and The Greater Texas Foundation.


Helping Postsecondary Educators Support Adult Learners

The initiative is using CAEL’s Adult Learner 360 diagnostic tool to identify areas for improving services to the adult learner at participating institutions. The Adult Learner 360 uses a student survey and an institutional survey in this process. Based on the Adult Learner 360 results, the LASS Academy is helping participating institutions take actionable steps in implementing plans to serve their Latino adult students. The Latino enrolling institutions selected to participate in the LASS Academy are members of a community of practice, meeting in-person annually to learn from each other at the Latino Adult Student Success Convening (LASSC). The LASS Academy is providing technical assistance and tools to participating institutions, including annual stipends to support institutions in implementation of their identified action plans as well as in the collection of data to track their progress.


Latino Adult Student Success Academy: Using a Collaborative Approach to Transform Disparate Data Into Sustainable Solutions

Over the course of three years, CAEL guided 15 postsecondary institutions in their work to support more Latino students. This booklet shares what was learned and accomplished during that time.

"The first two years of the grant have provided an opportunity for Daley College to ‘build the infrastructure’ and foundation to support our adult learners’ transition into credit and workforce programs. This work will be put into action in year three of the grant and will have a significant long-term impact in meeting our access and equity goals for all of our students."

Erika E. de la Riva, MA

Assistant Director of Research & Planning, Office of the President,
Richard J. Daley College

Participating Institutions

  • Austin Community College
  • Bronx Community College
  • California State University (Sacramento)
  • Estrella Mountain Community College
  • Florida International University
  • Lehman College
  • Phoenix College
  • Richard J. Daley College
  • South Texas College
  • Texas A&M University (San Antonio and Corpus Christi)
  • Union Institute & University
  • University of Texas (Rio Grande Valley)
  • University of Wisconsin (Parkside)
  • West Los Angeles College

CAEL is currently exploring options for future Academy cohorts.

"While we were proud to consider ourselves a Hispanic-serving institution, we understood that significant changes needed to be made in order to fully and effectively serve the needs of our expanding Latino adult learner student population. Our academic programs and student services and resources were designed to serve all students, but we learned along the way that adult learners face unique circumstances, which required changes to our institutional approaches. In this regard, we believed that a major area of opportunity for South Texas College was the institution’s enrollment and student contact processes, which needed adjustment when serving adult learner students."

Tony Matamoros

Director, Enrollment Services for Dual Credit,
South Texas College

Want to learn more? Let's talk.

If your institution or organization is seeking guidance, solutions, or support from CAEL, or if you have an idea for a future collaboration initiative with us, please reach out. We'd love to connect.