Minority Serving Institutions Program

The Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Program taps into the talents of students and faculty attending our nation's MSIs with the hopes of fulfilling the Department's mission and objectives. To accomplish this mission, we need the best and brightest individuals to work at and partner with the Department. The Department is proud to work with MSI partners through in-kind services, volunteerism, diverse hiring, grants and contacts.

MSIs are institutions of higher education that serve minority populations. They are unique both in their missions and in their day-to-day operations. Some of these colleges and universities are located in remote regions of the country, whereas others serve urban neighborhoods. Some are only a few decades old, whereas others, have been striving for more than a century to give their constituents the social and educational skills needed to overcome racial discrimination and limited economic opportunities.

Through Presidential Executive Orders and special legislation enacted over the past 20 years, MSIs have accessed Department funds and leveraged other Departmental resources on behalf of their students and communities. These opportunities for MSIs are a direct result of the efforts of our office and our programs.  You can access the U.S. Department of Education's list of postsecondary institutions enrolling populations with significant undergraduate minority students.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

HBCUs include 91 four-year and 17 two-year institutions of higher education established prior to 1964, for the primary purpose of educating African-Americans. The majority of the 102 HBCUs are located in the Southeastern states, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands.HBCUs comprise 3% of America's institutions of higher education, yet enroll 16% of all African-American students in higher education and award 24% of all baccalaureate degrees earned by African-Americans nationwide.

  • Executive Order 13532: Promoting Excellence, Innovation, and Sustainability at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • Memorandum of Understanding Between and the Department of the Interior: National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO)
  • Executive Order 13621: White House Initiative on Education Excellence for African Americans
    • White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans is structured to restore the United States to its role as the global leader in education; strengthen the Nation by improving educational outcomes for African Americans of all ages; and help ensure that African Americans receive a complete and competitive education that prepares them for college, a satisfying career, and productive citizenship.

Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs)

HSIs are accredited, post-secondary, higher educational institutions with at least 25% total full-time enrollment of Hispanic undergraduate students. HSIs included four-year and two-year, public and private educational institutions. HSIs enroll 40% of all Hispanic-American students of higher education. There are 274 institutions of higher education defined as HSIs using the criteria defined by the White House Initiative and the Department of Education. Visit the Department of Education's White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics page to learn more.

Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs)

The first TCU was created on a remote reservation community on the Navajo Nation. They now exist throughout Native Country. The 35 public and private higher educational institutions provide a response to the higher education needs of American Indians, and generally serve geographically-isolated populations that have no other means of accessing education beyond the high school level. TCUs have become increasingly important to educational opportunity for Native American students, an importance they have achieved in a relatively brief period of time.

  • Executive Order 13592 – Improving American Indian and Alaska Native Educational Opportunities and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities
  • Memorandum of Understanding Between the Department of the Interior and The American Indian in Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC).

Asian American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AAPISIs)

The AAPI community is one of the fastest growing populations in the U.S. Projections indicate that by 2050 this population will double in size. As a result, the education of AAPIs will be critical in achieving the educational goals of the US.

Executive Order 13515 – Increasing Participation of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Federal Programs

For More Information on MSIs, visit the Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education - Programs


Additional Partners

  • Memorandum of Understanding Between the Department of the Interior and The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
  • Memorandum of Understanding Between the Department of the Interior and The National Society for Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS)

Please note that the Department is not limited to only working through its partnership agreements but also works with individual minority serving institutions to provide program objectives.

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