By Karen Stokes
The U.S. Department of Education launched two grant programs this week aimed at enhancing research infrastructure in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs). These programs additionally seek to improve completion and retention rates for underserved students.
The grants will give nearly $100 million to make improvements and use proven strategies to help underserved students succeed in their studies. This funding comes after President Biden provided over $25 billion to HBCUs, MSIs, and TCCUs since taking office. Specifically, this includes $7.3 billion for 98 HBCUs, $474.5 million for 35 TCCUs, and $18.1 billion to support MSIs.
“At a time when diversity in higher education is under attack, it’s never been more important to invest in our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Minority-Serving Institutions, community colleges, and other inclusive institutions,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “These grant programs represent opportunities for our nation’s most inclusive and diverse colleges and universities to expand their capacity to drive research and innovation and strengthen evidence-based supports that help underserved students successfully complete their degrees and build brighter futures.”
The Research and Development Infrastructure Grant Program (RDI) for HBCUs, TCCUs and MSIs will give $50 million to these schools. This money will be used for improvements in research infrastructure, like research productivity, faculty expertise, graduate programs, buildings, training, and partnerships to get more external funding.
The grant will help HBCUs and MSIs increase their research activity level according to the Carnegie Classification. They aim to move from the Doctoral and Professional Universities (D/PU) classification to Doctoral Universities with High Research Activity (R2) classification or from the Doctoral Universities with High Research Activity (R2) classification to Doctoral Universities with Very High Research Activity (R1) classification.
For TCCUs, which have their own Carnegie Classification designation and cannot be classified as R1, R2, or D/PU, the funds will support an increase in research activities, undergraduate research opportunities, faculty development, research development, and infrastructure, including physical infrastructure and human capital development.
Additionally, the Department’s Raise the Bar Initiative, the Postsecondary Student Success Grant (PSSG) application is now open to institutions to support underserved students. The PSSG grant aims to equitably improve postsecondary student outcomes, including retention, transfer, credit accumulation, and completion, by leveraging data and implementing, scaling, and rigorously evaluating evidence-based activities to support data-driven decisions and actions by institutional leaders committed to inclusive student success.
There are students of color and those from low-income families that still have difficulties enrolling in and finishing college. More non-traditional students are joining postsecondary education. This grant program will give $45 million to fund strategies that can help underserved students succeed. The competition has two levels—early phase and mid-phase/expansion—based on how much research proves their effectiveness.
“The Biden-Harris Administration will continue working to raise the bar for excellence and equity in higher education and invest in institutions committed to helping students of all backgrounds and income levels reach their potential and pursue their dreams,” Cardona said.
For more information go to www2.ed.gov