Coming to the Aid of Minority-Serving Institutions

According to a new study by the Center for American Progress, investing in minority serving institutions (MSIs) is a key factor to the economic success of communities of color– which will be the majority of the U.S. population by 2043–and therefore central to the economic prosperity of our nation.  The study discusses lessons learned from investing in today’s MSIs, and best practices for increasing graduation rates.

The study focuses on two-year colleges and four-year public colleges and universities since 72% of minority students enroll in these institutions.

Key findings:

  • Besides Asian Americans, all other nonwhite groups fall behind college matriculation and graduation of white students
  • MSI community colleges generated $672 less in revenue, and spent 7% less per student on student services compared to other community colleges
  • MSI four-year institutions generated $2,413 more in revenue, and spent 9% more per student on services compared to other four-year institutions
  • In 2012, MSI community college graduation rates were 27% lower than other community colleges
  • In 2012, MSI four-year institution graduation rates were 10% higher than other four year institutions—with public four-year HBCU graduation rates 30% higher than other public four-year institutions

The study concludes that continuing to implement increased financial support to MSIs (particularly four year colleges and universities) has been historically proven (such as the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890, as well as the 2014 amendments to Titles III and V of the Higher Education Act of 1965) to address the disparity in college graduation rates between minority groups and whites.  Learning from these best practices will help close the gap between minority students’ performance at four-year institutions versus two-year community colleges.

Patrice Garnette, Joint Center Graduate Scholar, The George Washington University Law School