When most Americans think of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, they probably don't think of President Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society, nor do they probably think of how the HEA was established to strengthen the resources of public Institutions of Higher Education (IHE). More likely, what comes to mind is the ability for students to receive financial assistance for post-secondary education. But what about the funding that goes directly to institutions?
When Title III ("Institutional Aid") of the HEA was first created, funding was available to small colleges, community colleges, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Having witnessed the success of HBCUs under Title III, in the 1990s other IHEs began lobbying for federal classification and funding opportunities. Most notably, those institutions with large Hispanic student populations. When the HEA was reauthorized in 1992, Title III was amended to include a definition another type of MSI: Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI). By 1994, Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU) were also recognized under Title III. Thus originally, all MSIs were housed under Title III funding. This was a point of concern for those lobbying on behalf of HBCUs, however, for they felt as though the already limited availability of federal funds was at risk. After much debate, it was decided that as of the 1998 reauthorization of the HEA, HSIs would be moved under Title V ("Developing Institutions").
Through Titles III and V of the HEA came the establishment of federal funding to develop and support physical and academic infrastructures at post-secondary institutions. So what is the difference –really – between Title III institutions and Title V institutions if both hold the capacity to fund MSIs? It comes down to a matter of eligibility, determined by population versus mission.
Differences between Title III and Title V
Title III institutions are those that are categorized based on their historical purpose. As is the case for TCUs and HBCUs, Title III IHEs are established with the primary purpose of supporting a specific minority population (e.g. Native American, Black). This purpose is often expressly conveyed in the IHE's mission statement. Spelman College (an all-female HBCU), for example, states that it strives to be "a global leader in the education of women of African descent" (http://www.spelman.edu/about-us).
Title V IHEs, on the other hand, are categorized based on current student enrollment. Depending on the racial and ethnic demographics of an institution’s current undergraduate student body, an IHE's designation as Title V eligible may change. Unlike HBCUs, for instance, these IHEs did not intentionally target the post-secondary education of specific racial or ethnic groups. Instead, these institutions were founded, admitted students, ran their day-to-day operations, and as regional demographics and enrollment populations shifted found that they had developed into minority serving institutions. In other words, Title V institutions are not created solely for the purpose of serving a specific population. Rather, each Title V institution evolves into a Title V IHE, just as it may someday evolve to no longer be a Title V IHE.
MSI Classifications: Below is a list of the most predominate characteristics of each MSI. The description is no exhaustive, and one should refer to the actual legal text for full eligibility definition.
· Historically Black Colleges and Universities: an IHE established prior to 1964 whose principal mission is the education of Black Americans.
· Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI): an IHE where at least 25% of full-time, undergraduate students identify as Hispanic, with at least 50% of these students qualifying as below the most recently established U.S. Census poverty line.
· Tribal Colleges and Universities: a tribally controlled IHE with no less than 50% of enrolled students identifying as Native American.
· Native American Serving Institution: is a non- Tribally controlled IHE and has an enrollment of undergraduate students that is no less than 10 % Native American.
· Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions (ANNHI): an IHE that has an enrollment of at least 20% Alaskan Native undergraduate students, and/or 10% Native Hawaiian.
· Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI): an IHE that has an undergraduate enrollment of at least 10% Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander students.
· Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI): an IHE with a minimum of 1,000 undergraduate students enrolled, wherein 40% of enrolled students identify as black, 50% of students are first-generation college attendees or low-income, and 50% of students are enrolled for a bachelor's or associate's degree.
So why does any of this matter?
Well, unlike the non-competitive minimum allotment grants under Title III-B, Title V is a competitive grant program. This means that IHEs must first apply for eligibility, and if granted, are then able to apply for the federal grant monies available through Title V. Example grant programs include:
- Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP)
- Promoting Post Baccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans Program (PPOHA)
- Hispanic Serving-Institutions STEM and Articulation Program (HSI STEM)
- Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program
- Predominantly Black Institutions Program – Competitive Grants
So take a moment to reflect. Do you think you're at a Title V eligible institution? Do you have a project that you would like to see funded, possibly through Title V funds? If so, are you ready to submit your proposal? For more information visit: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/idues/eligibility.html