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Minority Serving Institutions as Engines of Upward Mobility

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Minority Serving Institutions as Engines of Upward Mobility

December 30, 1899

​Minority serving institutions (MSIs) play an integral role in the education of students from low-income families and communities of color where educational attainment is disproportionately low and income mobility can be stagnant. With a commitment to serve the nation and their surrounding communities, MSIs are engines of upward mobility for millions of students, and play this role even while the majority of MSIs are at a financial resource disadvantage when compared to non-MSIs. 

The analysis in this brief, by Lorelle L. Espinosa, Robert Kelchen, and Morgan Taylor, utilizes newly released Equality of Opportunity Project​ data to examine the upward income mobility of students who attended MSIs compared to students who did not. Overall, the authors found that MSIs propel their students from the bottom to the top of the income distribution at higher rates than do non- MSIs. These findings shed important light on the value of MSIs as a viable path up the economic ladder for millions of students and reinforce the value proposition of higher education as a path to greater prosperity for individuals, families, and whole communities.


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