The Minority-Serving-College Mobility Bump

"Lower-income students who attend minority-serving colleges are more likely to see a jump in their economic status than are those who attend other colleges," Inside Higher Ed reports.

"That's the bottom-line finding from a new report by the American Council on Education, which crunched numbers from the Equality of Opportunity Project, the highly cited data project released last year by Raj Chetty, a Stanford University economist, and several other researchers.

The new paper, which ACE says is the first of its kind, found that income-mobility rates tend to be two to three times higher at minority-serving institutions than at non-minority-serving ones. The higher rates occur despite the fact that minority-serving colleges are educating the 'country's most vulnerable students,' the study notes, often with relatively limited budgets.

'These findings fulfill a long-held belief by those close to these institutions that MSIs are poised to meet the widespread demand for higher education by lower-income students and students of color,' Lorelle Espinosa, assistant vice president for policy research and strategy at ACE and the report's lead author, said in a written statement.

Several categories of colleges meet the federal definition of minority serving, including historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions (with at least 25 percent of undergraduate enrollment being Hispanic students), tribal colleges and universities, and Asian-American and Native American/Pacific Islander-serving institutions, among others.

The nation's roughly 700 minority-serving institutions in 2015 together enrolled 4.8 million students, or 28 percent of all U.S. undergraduates. These numbers are expected to grow, the study said, as nearly all projected college enrollment growth between now and 2025 will be fueled by students from racial and ethnic minorities -- a group that will make up nearly half of postsecondary students within a decade.

The report looked at data for slightly more than half (359) of the nation's minority-serving colleges, excluding tribal colleges and others based on sample size and other factors, comparing them to more than 1,500 non-minority-serving institutions.

From that sample, one in five students who were enrolled at four-year Hispanic-serving institutions and nearly one in four students enrolled at four-year predominantly black institutions and HBCUs were from families in the lowest-income quintile. Those rates were more than three times the rates at non-minority-serving institutions.

In addition, roughly half of students at four-year, minority-serving institutions covered by the report were first-generation college students."

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Publication Date: 6/14/2018

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