Topic: My topic is examination of federal funding of minority-serving institutions when capitalism is exerting such pressures on higher education and state funding is at all time lows.Rationale: Combines interests of institutional culture and enrollment management. Studied codary-style education in the past and this course has allowed me to take a fresh look at trends affecting one grouping, namely, MSIs.
Terms (Provide Appendix A of terms to class. BRIEFLY explain the institutions that qualify as MSIs, the complexity of definition and eligibility.)Issue Under Examination (talk freely, you know your points) in light of the Obama administrations goals of 1 year of college for all Americans by 2020 and charge to increase minority participation among underrepresented students
Why are we as a nation setting expectations and sanctioning programs which target underrepresented minorities degree attainment and in STEM fields in particular? And, if we all agreed that this is a desirable goal, why are these MSIs singled out rather than all institutions being equally charged with and supported for educating underrepresented minority students? And since the institutional focus seems to be debatable, one might question: what is the basis for providing large amounts of funding to MSIs in multiple federal programs? Finally, the overarching question remains: what does all this say about where American higher education is headed?
NATIONAL:(1) “It is incumbent on the Federal Government to support the technological and economic competitiveness of the United States by improving and expanding the scientific and technological capacity of the United States. More and better prepared scientists, engineers, and technical experts are needed to improve and expand such capacity. (2) As the Nation’s population becomes more diverse, it is important that the educational and training needs of all Americans are met. Underrepresentation of minorities in science and technological fields diminishes our Nation’s competitiveness by impairing the quantity of well prepared scientists, engineers, and technical experts in these fields. (3) Despite significant limitations in resources, minority institutions provide an important educational opportunity for minority students, particularly in science and engineering fields. Aid to minority institutions is a good way to address the underrepresentation of minorities in science and technological fields. (4) There is a strong Federal interest in improving science and engineering programs at minority institutions as such programs lag behind in program offerings and in student enrollment compared to such programs at other institutions of higher education” (“Findings” section).LOCAL:MSIs, like mainstream institutions, employ local population to work on campus in a variety of positions. Financial support in expanding facilities and programs will mean some increase in staffing, and employment of local (usually minority owned small) businesses have a potential of new contracts;MSIs attract educated faculty and staff from regional and national locations to fill positions which serves as a basis for stimulating sales of relocating personnel. Although MSIs have challenges with being able to pay faculty adequately, the new funding resources will allow them to recruit and retain qualified faculty who will be better prepared to support and build strong programs at the institutions;MSIs attract students who also are a basis for stimulating sales and housing. Increasing financial aid support through SAFRA, and student success support programs, will mean more students will be able to successfully persist and contribute to local economies for longer periods;Institutions in general attract businesses and corporate interaction which both support education through scholarships, but also provides jobs to recent graduates enticing them to stay in the local area. By increasing funding to STEM fields, this increases business growth, retention, and encourages entrepreneurship in these areas;MSIs also “perform immense amounts of public service in their communities and were doing so long before ‘service learning’ or ‘civic engagement’ became buzzwords on mainstream campuses” (Gasman, 2009, ¶ 15). Increasing SAFRA funding will increase the number of students available to contribute to their communities and STEM funding initiatives, grants, and programs will also encourage the increased college populations to engage in outreach to local students through tutoring and mentorship.
If MSIs are diverse as a group, and the qualifications are stratified based on the specific ethnicity they support, how can the expectations and outcomes be managed and measured among a wide range of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields?Since MSIs admittedly enroll significant numbers of Anglo and Asian students (e.g., HSIs Anglo/Asian populations are as much as 50% at large state institutions, and HBCUs like Bluefield in West Virginia has only a 20% Black student population) how does this funding ensure that underrepresented minorities are benefitted alongside their Anglo and Asian counterparts?How do we ensure that federal funds aren’t being used to promote ‘prestige-seeking’ among MSIs but that efforts are focused on achieving the public good?Since the funding resources allocated have been allocated to everything from facilities, to staffing, faculty salaries, to equipment, to student aid in formats which range from institutional grants to Pell Grants how will these institutions be held accountable for outcomes? And are grant reporting lines enough?If MSIs receive these funding incentives, in what ways are mainstream institutions being encouraged to contribute to the public good by increasing the production of underrepresented minority students in STEM fields?
1. Nicole J. SealeyCTCH 792 – A01, Summer 2010Dr. Jaime Lester, InstructorGeorge Mason UniversityALPHABET SOUP: Making the Case for FederalFunding of MSIs for STEM in the New Economy
2. AN INTRODUCTION Terms & Definitions Issue Under Examination  In the past two years, a total of $3.5B have been allocated to MSIs:  2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) reestablished funding for Titles III-V to strengthen MSIs & established priority funding for programs designed to increase minority participation in STEM fields  2010 Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) allocated $2.55B to MSIs; second largest beneficiary  All occurred during one of the worse economic times in American History
3. QUESTIONS Why are we as a nation setting expectations and sanctioning programs which target underrepresented minorities degree attainment and in STEM fields in particular? Why are these MSIs singled out rather than all institutions being equally charged with and supported for educating underrepresented minority students? What is the basis for providing large amounts of funding to MSIs in multiple federal programs? What does all this say about where American higher education is headed?
4. THESISAlthough underrepresented minorities attend and aresuccessful at mainstream institutions, I argue that fundingsupport for MSIs, which includes:HBCUs, HSIs, TCCUs, AN/NHIs, and other MMIs; isappropriate and necessary on the grounds that: Most MSIs are historically overburdened, underfunded, and underrated institutions; MSIs are better prepared to help close the existing “educational debt” in mathematics and sciences (Ladson-Billings, 2007) and are more successful at educating underrepresented students; Expanding resources at MSIs directly benefits the local and national public good.
5. EVIDENCE THAT MOST MSIs ARE “HISTORICALLYDISADVANTAGED INSTITUTIONS” MSIs are bearing the brunt of the responsibility in assuring minority student success  First generation/lower socioeconomic attributes MSIs are among the nations most financially- challenged institutions  Historical disparity and treatment of MSIs  Result of having a low income population as a student base. MSIs also suffer from both an institutional and social discrimination because of their affiliation or mission for serving one or more particular ethnic groups, they are often perceived as inferior
6. EVIDENCE THAT MSIS ARE “BETTER PREPARED”& “MORE SUCCESSFUL” AT THEIR CHARGE Minority-serving institutions by definition have enrollment and graduation percentages above parity in relation to local populations of underrepresented groups. This is achieved by:  Maintaining „lower‟ admissions standards  Offering developmental programming  Cultivating culturally sensitive academic programming and ethos
7. EVIDENCE THAT FUNDING MSIs DIRECTLYBENEFITS THE “PUBLIC GOOD” MSIs critical to increase national competitiveness:  MSEIP legislation findings: “It is incumbent on the Federal Government to support the technological and economic competitiveness of the US… Underrepresentation of minorities in science and technological fields diminishes our Nation‟s competitiveness by impairing the quantity of well prepared scientists, engineers, and technical experts in these fields.” MSIs maintain symbotic relationships with local communities (usually urban or remote, lower socioeconomic status, PoC) that need economic stimulus  Employment of locals, faculty, students; recruitment & retention  Attracts S, T, R & D industry  Encourages expanded civic engagement that creates a self- sustaining cycle of economic viability
8. CONCLUSION Questions are answered; alternative responses possible. Implications for Further Research & Critical Discourse  Diverse goals/populations vs. accountability/outcomes?  Should federal funds be used for prestige?  Opportunities for collaborative initiatives between mainstream institutions and community