New Project Offers Enhanced Data on MSIs

By  - 
Paper cutouts of white and black figures

A new research project is working to streamline classifications for minority-serving institutions (MSIs) to ensure data is accurate and consistent for research, advocacy, and policymaking efforts.

The MSI Data Project offers free, public-access dashboards with statistics about student enrollment and graduation rates, funding statuses, and other MSI data between 2017-2021. The project is supported by The Kresge Foundation, SHEEO, New York University (NYU), and the University of Denver.

The database was launched alongside an article this month in Educational Researcher that calls for the use of standardized definitions for MSIs to make sure that data is being collected accurately in studies and datasets.

“Our hope is for researchers to utilize our database to conduct more precise research on and with MSIs, and for MSI leaders, advocates, and policymakers to use this body of research, as well as our data dashboards, to make better informed decisions that promote equitable educational outcomes for students,” said Mike Hoa Nguyen, assistant professor of education at NYU and the project’s principal investigator, in a statement.

The U.S. Department of Education currently identifies 11 types of MSIs, including Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and historically Black colleges and universities.

Nguyen says the research team plans to expand the database to include earlier years, which will offer more historical context on how MSI funding and eligibility statuses have evolved over time.