News & Events / Minority-Serving Institutions: A Driving Force in Accomplishing Our National College Completion Goals

Minority-Serving Institutions: A Driving Force in Accomplishing Our National College Completion Goals

Published May 13, 2014

Washington, D.C., Jan. 10, 2012—In order to accomplish our national college completion goals, it is critical that we turn our attention to educational equity to transform our educational system, meet workforce demands, and bolster the economy. A central component in raising America’s attainment levels is the role of Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs)—Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Tribal College and Universities, and Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions. These more than 400 institutions are not only experienced in doing more with less, but are recognized leaders in educating, serving, and graduating low-income, first-generation, and minority students. To celebrate the unique position of MSIs, the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), in partnership with Lumina Foundation for Education, is directing a national, data-driven initiative called the Lumina MSI Models of Success.”

As part of the three-year Lumina MSI Models of Success initiative, IHEP is teaming up with eight grantees that serve as the lead institution or organization of more than 25 MSIs nationwide to improve and document increased college completion at MSIs. Efforts include a series of policy briefs featuring key emerging themes. The first publication, The Role of Minority-Serving Institutions in National College Completion Goals, is being released today and outlines the current MSI landscape—highlighting that together these institutions enroll more than 2.3 million students or close to 14 percent of all students—as well as features several student success stories. Other briefs being released over the next year will focus on topics such as data capacity, developmental education, mobility and transfer, and Black male retention. A final brief will summarize the project and highlight each of the grantees.

“Achieving college completion goals will take more than maintaining the status quo. Higher education will need to be innovative and open to alternative and diverse ways of approaching this issue,” said former IHEP President Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D. “We believe our work through the Lumina MSI Models of Success initiative is crucial to policymakers, practitioners, and ALL institutions of higher education—MSIs and non-MSIs alike—that share the same motivations for educating our nation’s youth.”

With a goal of increasing college completion, especially among first-generation students, low-income students, and students of color, the project embraces a collective MSI success agenda and has five objectives:

  1. To improve the capacity of MSIs to collect, analyze, and use data to inform decisions that will promote student success;
  2. To create a collective voice for policy advocacy on behalf of MSIs;
  3. To strengthen policy and practice to improve developmental education;
  4. To increase MSIs’ commitment to transparency and effectiveness in improving student learning outcomes; and
  5. To increase the postsecondary completion of traditionally underserved students, especially men of color.

As the key intermediary for the initiative, IHEP provides technical support and assistance with the documentation and dissemination of the project findings to inform the higher education success policy agenda at the federal, state, and institutional levels.

The Lumina MSI Models of Success grantees are:

  • The American Indian Higher Education Consortium
  • California State University-Monterey Bay
  • Florida International University
  • Jackson State University
  • Salish Kootenai College
  • Southern Education Foundation
  • The University of North Carolina System
  • The University of Texas El Paso

For more information about the Lumina MSI Models of Success program or to download a free copy of The Role of Minority-Serving Institutions in National College Completion Goals, visit IHEP’s Web site at