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July 20, 2021

Policy Brief | Minority-Serving Institutions and College Promise Programs: Supporting and Advancing the Success of Students of Color

In his recent College Promise policy brief, Mike Hoa Nguyen explains the importance of Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) and how MSIs are disproportionately responsible for educating and preparing a large number of students of color.

Hoa’s policy brief provides background on College Promise, defines Minority-Serving Institutions, and highlights the demographics within the 253 Minority-Serving Institutions with College Promise Programs.  He also details the purpose of MSIs and explains their critical role in increasing college access and improving college completion rates among minoritized students in the United States.

The impact MSIs have on millions of underserved students is noticeably uplifting and, as Hoa writes, “policymakers have often called upon MSIs as critical and necessary vehicles to implement and achieve these positive educational outcomes for students of color.” While MSIs enhance the educational experience for specific populations, the institutions can also help construct and improve College Promise programs.

Research reveals the influence of MSIs around the nation and Hoa hopes these findings will inform new federal and state policies. Currently, of the nearly 800 MSIs across the nation, 253 are linked to College Promise programs.

Increasing the amount of College Promise programs on MSI campuses and engaging regional partners, would open pathways for possible new federal, state, local, and tribal funding streams ahead. This could ultimately lead to significant evidence-based investments in College Promise programs and enhanced collaboration between MSIs and College Promise.

“But most importantly, [establishing Promise programs at MSIs] creates great potential and possibility to further the educational and workforce needs of our most underserved communities, while driving America’s prosperity in the years ahead,” Hoa concluded.

Read the full policy brief here.

Mike Hoa Nguyen, PhD is a Assistant Professor at the University of Denver's Morgridge College of Education, and a faculty affiliate at the Scrivner Institute for Public Policy and the Interdisciplinary Research Institute for the Study of (In)Equality; his research examines the benefits and consequences of public policy instruments in expanding or constraining the operations of colleges and universities. In addition to his academic work, Dr. Nguyen served as a senior staff member in the United States Congress. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and his graduate education at the University of California, Los Angeles.

For more information on the growth of MSIs and Promise Programs and the potential benefits of integrating, please read the full policy brief. If you would like to stay up to date on College Promise events and resources, please contact to be added to our mailing list.

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