HBCU and minority serving institutions facts and statistics

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Published On
October 20, 2022

Minority serving institutions, or MSIs, are colleges and universities whose primary focus is serving students from underrepresented backgrounds and promoting their advancement. These include historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Tribal colleges and universities (TCUs), Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions (AANAPISIs).

MSIs are highly diverse, culturally rich and tend to have close-knit communities, all of which can contribute to a well-rounded college experience. With college deadlines approaching, you may be thinking about paying to attend an MSI. But there are some considerations to keep in mind when applying to these schools. Here’s what to know.

HBCU meaning and cultural impact

Historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, are higher education institutions founded before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 whose main focus is educating Black or African American students. But as time has passed, these institutions have opened their doors to students from all backgrounds. Non-Black students now represent 24 percent of HBCUs’ student body.

HBCUs help advance their graduates’ social and economic mobility by offering affordable education to low-income and underrepresented students. This, in turn, is a step forward in bridging the racial wealth gap.

In fact, according to a report by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Black HBCU graduates working full-time can earn about $927,000 more throughout their career compared to Black students who graduated from a non-HBCU institution.

The report also found that HBCUs are responsible for producing 80 percent of Black judges, 50 percent of Black doctors and 50 percent of Black lawyers — all high-paying careers.

Another report from the Urban Institute found that Black students who attended HBCUs felt more satisfied with their overall college experience than their peers who attended non-HBCU institutions. They were also more likely to think their highest level of education was worth the cost.

It’s also worth noting that many HBCUs have low student-to-faculty ratios. Students may have more opportunities to get mentorship from their professors and create close-knit relationships with their peers, which fosters a better learning environment.

“I believe that these institutions have come to hold a new meaning and significance for today’s youth, with many gravitating decidedly toward them out of wanting to embrace the cultural shift we’re experiencing,” says Briana B. Franklin, co-founder, president and CEO of nonprofit The Prosp(a)rity Project.

“For instance, it used to be said that going to an HBCU was creating a false sense of reality, since ‘the world is not all predominantly Black.’ But, with there being a massive uptick in Black corporate leadership, entrepreneurship and social investment in Black-serving causes, the graduates coming out of these institutions are in many cases going from one pro-Black environment to another, which is transformative in so many ways,” she adds.

Minority serving institutions meaning and cultural impact

Minority serving institutions, or MSIs, are colleges and universities dedicated to serving students from underrepresented groups. These institutions include not only HBCUs but also TCUs, HSIs and AANAPISIs. They enroll over five million students nationwide.

An American Council for Education (ACE) analysis found that MSIs are key to providing affordable access to higher education for students of color. Many of these students come from low-income backgrounds and are first-generation college students.

Plus, these institutions contribute to underrepresented students’ social and economic mobility by letting them move into the upper-middle class at a higher rate than non-MSIs.

“MSIs play a critical role for students of color. For example, HSIs educate over 65 percent of all Hispanics in higher education. HSIs also enroll a large number of black and Native students,” says Deborah A. Santiago, CEO and co-founder of Excelencia in Education.

“Effective MSIs bring an asset-based approach to serving students and are intentional in ensuring students of color are included in the practices that can advance the students’ success,” she adds.





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