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Growth in Minority Student Enrollment Gives Rise to More MSIs

Growth in Minority Student Enrollment Gives Rise to More MSIs

More minority undergraduate students are enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities than ever, and more of them are choosing minority-serving institutions such as historically Black colleges and universities, Asian-serving institutions and Hispanic-serving institutions.

Between 1984 and 2004, minority undergraduate enrollment more than doubled, increasing from 1.9 million to 4.7 million, according to a report released by the National Center for Education Statistics. Conversely, White undergraduate enrollment grew only by 15 percent.

Hispanic undergraduate enrollment had the highest growth among racial/ethnic groups, at 237 percent, followed by Asian, American Indian and Black enrollment. Black undergraduates remained the largest single minority group on U.S. college campuses.

The increased enrollment of minority undergraduates was coupled with an expansion of MSIs over the past two decades. The total number of minority-serving institutions increased from 414 in 1984 to 1,254 in 2004.

“We feel that it’s natural for students to gravitate toward HBCUs and other minority serving institutions such as Hispanic-serving institutions. When you look at a Cal State, Los Angeles or Cal State, Dominguez Hills, you find faculty that look like you, [college] presidents that look like you and a number of support groups that can be helpful,” says Jorge Haynes, senior director of external relations for the California State University system, which is home to 12 HSIs.

The number of HSIs jumped significantly during the reported time span, up from 60 nationwide in 1984 to 366 in 2004. Institutions qualify as Hispanic-serving when 25 percent of their full-time students are Hispanic.

A recent study by Excelencia in Education, titled “Choosing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs): A Closer Look at Latino Students’ College Choices,” found that most Hispanic students’ college decisions are motivated by factors such as open-admissions policies, locations in close proximity to large Latino populations and costs. As a result, the students don’t enroll in HSIs intentionally, but create them when the Hispanic student population hits 25 percent.

The NCES?report also noted that there were differences in the characteristics of minority students attending MSIs and those attending predominately White institutions (PWI). Black and Hispanic undergraduates enrolled in MSIs were more likely to be older, attend school part-time and have lower incomes than their counterparts attending PWIs.

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