Department of Education Launches Nearly $100M in Grants for Underserved Students

The two grants will help HBCUs, tribal colleges and universities, and minority-serving institutions build research facilities and boost student outcomes.
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Published on August 7, 2023
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  • The Biden-Harris administration announced two new grants to help historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), tribal colleges and universities (TCUs), and minority-serving institutions (MSIs).
  • HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs are all historically underfunded, posing challenges for students at these institutions.
  • The grants will go toward building research facilities and helping the institutions improve student retention and completion rates.

Just over a month after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down race-conscious college admissions, the Biden-Harris administration is investing in underfunded institutions that serve minority students.

The grants, totaling nearly $100 million, will help historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), tribal colleges and universities (TCUs), and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) build research facilities and ensure more underserved students stay enrolled in and graduate from college, according to the Department of Education's Tuesday announcement.

"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," U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in the announcement.

$50 Million Research Grant

The Historically Black Colleges or Universities, Tribally Controlled Colleges or Universities, and Minority-Serving Institutions Research and Development Infrastructure Grant Program allots $50 million to do a few key things:

  • Build infrastructure
  • Create new research opportunities for undergraduate students
  • Improve faculty and graduate student expertise and diversity
  • Gain funding from new external partners

Better research opportunities directly impact student outcomes. Undergraduate students who participated in research opportunities gained skills, earned better GPAs, and were overall more satisfied with their educational experience, according to a study published in the Journal of College Student Development.

"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," Cardona said in the announcement.

$45 Million Student Success Grant

Racial gaps in college completion exist, and this grant aims to help close them. In 2021, when comparing adults ages 25-64, 34% of Black adults and 28% of Hispanic adults had college degrees. That's compared to 50% of white adults, according to a Lumina Foundation analysis of U.S. Census data.

The Postsecondary Student Success Grant (PSSG) aims to help institutions keep underserved students enrolled and ensure they get the credits they need to leave with a degree.

This grant isn't limited to HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs. Schools that enroll many students with higher financial need are also eligible for the grant.

"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 in the announcement.