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CMSI Releases New Report on Florida's Minority Serving Institutions

Philadelphia, Pa., July 12, 2018— The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) has released a new report that provides an in-depth portrait of Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) in Florida.
As of 2017, Florida’s population is almost 21 million, making it the third most populous state. The largest racial and ethnic categories are White (55%), Latino/a (25%), and Black/African American (17%). With a growing Latino/a and Asian American and Pacific Islander population, Florida is amongst the most racially and ethnically diverse states in the U.S.
“Higher education must develop equitable and inclusive practices that embrace, support, and retain all students. Policymakers and administrators are doing a disservice to students if they fail to adapt to changes in demographics,” said Marybeth Gasman, the Judy & Howard Berkowitz Professor of Education and Director of the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions.
The report provides an overview of Florida’s economic landscape and higher education systems. It also delves into the characteristics of the state’s MSIs, with a look at enrollment, revenue, retention, and graduation while also spotlighting some of the distinct challenges that MSIs in Florida face. Some of the policy challenges the report mentions include performance-based funding, college affordability, and DACA.
Colleges and universities of various types in Florida are being subjected to performance-based funding. Mandating institutions to reach state-defined metrics of success could result in a decrease in state funding and even fewer resources being allocated to support the mission and student population at MSIs. Despite the need for institutions to maintain low tuition rates due to performance funding and Florida’s commitment to affordable higher education, the report explains that many institutions are exhibiting waning college affordability. Another challenge that Florida MSIs are facing is the dissolution of DACA. With an estimated 32,000 DACA recipients living in Florida, if DACA is rescinded, Florida can stand to lose close to $1.5 billion.

"Performance-based funding often ignores the demographic makeup of Minority Serving Institutions. These institutions tend to be the unfortunate victims of this policy. In Florida, where MSIs reflect the evolving demographics of the country, policymakers should be more cognizant of the varying impact of such a blanket policy,” said William Casey Boland, the lead author of the report and Assistant Professor in the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College, The City University of New York

With a list of action items that MSIs can enact, including MSI partnership development, applying for grants, and strengthening their success sharing, the report urges institutions to take the necessary steps to enhance student support. The report also provides recommendations for policymakers, including prioritizing equity when enacting performance-based funding policies, protecting Dreamers, and investing in need-based funding.
Full copies of the report are freely available here.
About the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions 
The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions brings together researchers and practitioners from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions. CMSI’s goals include: elevating the educational contributions of MSIs; ensuring that they are a part of national conversations; bringing awareness to the vital role MSIs play in the nation’s economic development; increasing the rigorous scholarship of MSIs; connecting MSIs’ academic and administrative leadership to promote reform initiatives; and strengthening efforts to close educational achievement gaps among disadvantaged communities. The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions is part of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. For further information about CMSI, please visit

Friday, July 13, 2018
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