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Year-Long Campaign to Highlight ROI of Minority-Serving Institutions

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With 52 data points over 52 weeks, the University of Pennsylvania Center for Minority-Serving Institutions hopes to raise public awareness about these types of colleges and the return on investment they can offer.

The Center announced the year-long campaign on Sept. 6 with the goal to bring more attention to colleges and universities serving minority students, such as historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) and Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander-serving institutions (AANAPISIs). The campaign is also designed to highlight the strengths of minority-serving institutions, dispel common misconceptions about these schools, and motivate scholars to conduct more data-driven research about MSIs.

Here’s the first data point:

MSIs disproportionately serve low-income students, first-generation students and students of color, yet often experience relatively high success, or return on investment, despite fewer financial resources, according to an email from the Center.

A recent Excelencia in Education analysis showed that two-thirds of Hispanic undergraduate college students attend one of the 435 Hispanic-serving institutions, a distinction given to schools that qualify for federal Title V funding because at least 25 percent of their student body is Hispanic.

A recent report by researchers from Vanderbilt, New York University and Florida State University states that, after controlling for student and institutional characteristics, such as selectivity, Hispanic students graduate from HSIs at equal rates as Hispanics who attend colleges that are not designated Hispanic-serving. HSI Hispanic graduates also have comparable earnings to their non-HSI-graduate peers. (More on their findings on labor market returns for HSI graduates here.)

The Center for Minority Serving Institutions’ partners for this campaign include the American Council on Education, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, Educational Testing Service, Institute for Higher Education Policy, American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education, and Human Rights Campaign.