Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Advertise in our classifieds section
Your classified listing could be here!
October 4, 2022

Latinx students reflect on UT’s recertification with Seal of Excelencia


Excelencia in Education recertified the University with the Seal of Excelencia last month, a distinction given to institutions demonstrating commitment to serving Latinx students. 

Excelencia in Education, a national organization dedicated to increasing Latinx student success, certified the University with the Seal for the first time in 2020. Eyra Pérez, Excelencia’s vice president of institutional capacity, said institutions must reapply for certification every three years and show evidence of their continued commitment to serving the Latinx community. 

“What we’ve seen (the Seal) become is really a self-assessment,” Pérez said. “It does not at all indicate that a campus or institution is perfect. It’s simply a commitment to serve Latinos while serving all, and we know that will benefit all students across the nation.” 

According to data from the Office of the President, more than 27% of UT undergraduates are Hispanic. The University earned the distinction of Hispanic-Serving Institution in 2020, which is given to institutions with a full-time equivalent undergraduate student enrollment that’s at least 25% Hispanic. 

Pérez said Excelencia looks beyond enrollment statistics, though, when reviewing applications for the Seal by also examining the institution’s available resources, communication and institutional culture for Latinx students. 

“(There’s) a balance between institutional data and then pivoting those institutions every day to continue to focus on students and being true to their transformation efforts,” Pérez said. “As part of the Seal, we really have our eye on evidence-based practices.” 

The University’s HSI Steering Committee works with other University leadership to maintain and expand strategies serving Latinx students and faculty, according to the committee’s website. The strategies include supporting enrollment and retention, implementing professional training, promoting post-graduate success and celebrating identity. 

Public relations junior Osman Moradel said he decided to attend UT to maintain connections with the Latinx community, something he had back home in the Rio Grande Valley. Moradel said he learned about resources specific to Latinx from student organizations like RGV Familia and many of his professors, but he said the University needs to financially support students from these backgrounds more to best serve their needs. 

“There’s so many systemic barriers and a lot of it could be addressed financially,” Moradel said. “I feel like UT does a great job in terms of mental health and providing health care for people who don’t have insurance, but rent isn’t getting paid (and) bills aren’t getting paid, and that’s a really big issue.”

Brazilian international student Lara Doria said she’s received some guidance from Texas Global, but she said the University could better support Latinx students financially and socially. Doria said she receives no financial support as an international student, and the only international Latinx scholarship she’s been able to find is for students from Mexico. 

“People sometimes think that diversity programs and programs that serve Latinos only serve Latinos, but helping Latinos express themselves and grow their full potential is beneficial to everyone because (other students) are going to be able to engage in more diversity,” public relations junior Doria said. “Investing in programs for Latinos is beneficial for the whole UT community.” 

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Sarah Brager, General News Reporter
Sarah is a journalism junior from Buda, Texas. She's currently a senior news reporter, and she previously worked as a life and arts reporter and an opinion columnist. When she's not reporting for the Texan, Sarah loves hiking, drinking outrageous amounts of coffee and doing crossword puzzles.