Grant awards rise for minority-serving institutions, students in need

New programs will help improve equity from middle school through graduate schools.

Minority-serving institutions and low-income students, which have been traditionally under-resourced, underfunded and undervalued, are continuing to receive strong support from the Biden Administration.

The Office of Postsecondary Education reports that by the end of September, $2.6 billion and more than 5,100 grants will have been awarded overall to colleges, universities and the millions attending them. Many of those approved projects will assist MSIs and serve students in need, helping to boost access and career pathways. More than 300 grants alone are being given in FY2021 to ensure financial stability and learning environments at institutions that serve Black, Latino, Native American and Asian American and Pacific Islander students.

“Through these federal grants, the Department is furthering its mission to expand access to opportunity at every level of our education system,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said during a visit to Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College in Michigan as part of the Return to School RoadMap. “These grants serve a variety of purposes—from increasing students’ readiness for postsecondary education to bolstering the capacity of colleges. While each of these programs is unique, together they share the important aim of advancing equity in education and helping every student with dreams and determination to achieve their potential.”

These grants piggyback on the nearly $40 billion in emergency awards given to colleges and universities under the American Rescue Plan Act. Historically Black Colleges and Universities received $500 million this year, while Minority-Serving Institutions ($300 million) and Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities ($65 million) got large infusions from the Department.

In its new release, ED said a series of grants will help students progress from “middle school to graduate school,” including more than:

  • $1 billion under TRIO programs to help low-income, first-generation, and disabled students matriculate from secondary schools through graduate programs.
  • $360 million to improve outcomes for low-income students whose states and organizations participate in Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), as well as more than $20 million to those in the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need program.
  • $22 million in Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools.
  • $10 million to students with intellectual disabilities through the Transition Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities and the National Technical Assistance Coordinating Center.
  • $13 million to institutions to support veteran student success through open educational resources.

“Through support of historically under-resourced institutions and funding programs that focus on college readiness and postsecondary success, the Department is doubling down on its goal of resilience, equitable recovery and ensuring that our nation’s colleges and universities can build back better,” ED said in a statement.

Aside from those grants, the Administration is pouring more than $75 million toward initiatives that keep America competitive, such as multilingual communication, cultural engagement and other global business ventures that can help assist in diplomatic relations and national security.

Information on applying for future grants can be found here. ED says updates on grants will appear on each program website.

Chris Burt
Chris Burt
Chris is a reporter and associate editor for University Business and District Administration magazines, covering the entirety of higher education and K-12 schools. Prior to coming to LRP, Chris had a distinguished career as a multifaceted editor, designer and reporter for some of the top newspapers and media outlets in the country, including the Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel, Albany Times-Union and The Boston Globe. He is a graduate of Northeastern University.

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