Bennet Introduces Legislation to Permanently Extend & Increase Funding for Minority-Serving Institutions

Ten Colorado Institutions Would Benefit from Funding Expansion

COLORADO – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet this week introduced legislation to permanently extend and increase mandatory funding levels for minority-serving institutions. Ten Colorado institutions, including one Native American-Serving Institution and nine Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), would benefit from the funding expansion.  

“Minority-serving institutions have tremendous influence in communities throughout Colorado,” said Bennet. “The ten institutions that would benefit from this funding are creating more opportunities for Native American and Hispanic students across our state to receive a high-quality education and find meaningful careers. This funding would build on the success of these institutions, helping boost already growing graduation rates and provide additional student support.”

Bill Background

The Strengthening Minority-Serving Institutions Act would increase mandatory funding levels from $255 million to $300 million for minority-serving institutions of higher education. A majority of this funding is currently set to expire in Fiscal Year 2019 and the other part of the funding expired in Fiscal Year 2014, leaving already financially strapped schools at risk. The funds would be used for capital improvement needs, faculty and curriculum development, and student services.

Specifically under the legislation:

  • Hispanic-Serving Institutions would receive $117.5 million, an increase in $17.5 million in capacity-building funding, with priority for STEM and Articulation programs;
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) would receive $99,875,000, an increase of nearly $15 million in capacity-building funding;
  • Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs) would be eligible for a competitive grant program funded at $17,625,000, an increase of $2.6 million, with each school eligible for $600,000 grants; and,
  • All other Minority-Serving Institutions would receive $65 million, an increase of $10 million in capacity-building funding.


Colorado Institutions

The following Colorado institutions would benefit from the funding expansion: Fort Lewis College, Adams State University, Aims Community College, Colorado State University–Pueblo, Community College of Aurora, Community College of Denver, Emily Griffith Technical College, Metropolitan State University of Denver, Morgan Community College, and Pueblo Community College.

“As the first federally-designated Hispanic Serving Institution in the state of Colorado, Adams State University has seen first-hand the importance of serving minority students in a meaningful and deliberate way,” said Adams State University President Cheryl Lovell. “The latest statistics for Adams State graduates show Hispanic students graduate at a higher rate than their peer students. With additional federal government funding for HSIs, Adams State and institutions like us, will continue to improve the educational system thereby better serving all students.”

“Fort Morgan is one of a growing number of minority-majority communities across America,” said Curt Freed, President of Morgan Community College. “Morgan Community College works hard to meet the diverse needs of the community we serve; however, additional funding would help us provide even better access to higher education.  Our communities win when residents can realize their potential.” 

“This bill would benefit students from historically underserved populations who need the extra support to move up the socio-economic ladder,” said Janine Davidson, President of Metropolitan State University of Denver. “It’s good for students, their families and the state of Colorado.”

“Senator Bennet is a strong voice for us in Washington and we commend this legislative initiative,” said Joe Garcia, President of Colorado Community College System. “This bill could go a long way toward improving access to higher education and career pathways for underserved populations, not just in Colorado but across the nation.”

Garcia added that the bill would provide much needed support in helping Colorado close its glaring equity gap between white and Hispanic populations and achieve its goal of 66% higher education credential attainment: “Our thirteen colleges serve 48% of the state’s undergraduate students of color, and half are designated as Hispanic-Serving Institutions. Increased support to our colleges to strengthen relationships with underserved students within their communities, coupled with stronger support services to see them through their academic journey, is key to providing students access to fulfilling careers without the burden of overwhelming debt.”