New Research Helps Gauge Return on Investment for Students at Minority Serving Institutions

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Center for Minority Serving Institutions is co-sponsoring new research on the return on investment MSIs offer.

Media Contact: 

Contact: Jeff Frantz, Penn GSE Associate Director of Communications
215-898-3269 /

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December 3, 2015 — Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) educate 26 percent of the nation’s college students. Like all colleges and universities, MSIs are trying to quantify the Return on Investment (ROI) they offer students. But the calculations can be different for MSIs, which serve large percentages of first generation, low-income students of color.

 Four new research papers give fresh insights into MSIs’ expanding role in American education:   

  1. The monetary and non-monetary ROI for students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including annual earnings, job satisfaction, and socialization to higher-status occupations, among other factors.
  2. An examination of labor market returns for graduates of Hispanic Serving Institutions.
  3. A look at new ways to more accurately measure ROI for students at Tribal Colleges and Universities.
  4. A study of how students in federally funded learning communities at Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions adjusted to college-level work and graduated at higher rates than their peers.

“Understanding the complex and unique return on investment for MSIs is essential as these institutions serve the new majority in higher education. There is much that we can all learn from their impact and approaches to student learning and community uplift,” said Marybeth Gasman, Director of the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions.

This new research is being released in conjunction with the National Minority Serving Institutions Return on Investment Convening, which takes place December 3-4 in Princeton, NJ. The convening, sponsored by Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, will serve as a call for further research on the work of MSIs.

 “As MSIs continue to expand their share of enrolled postsecondary students, they will be expected to produce increasing amounts of high-quality data and information on institutional effectiveness,” said ETS Senior Vice President Michael Nettles. “This includes evidence about MSI graduates’ learning, preparation for the workforce, attractiveness to employers, and successful pursuit of post-baccalaureate degrees.”


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, Native American, and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions. The Center’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. For further information about the Center, please visit

About Educational Testing Services (ETS)

At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, and by conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series® assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.




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