Press Release/Statement | August 25, 2021

REPORT: Increased Funding for Colleges that Predominantly Serve BIPOC Students is Critical to Success and Racial Equity

Oakland, CA – A college degree plays a crucial role in providing opportunities for economic mobility, and sustained and equitable investments in public colleges and universities are more critical than ever. However, a new report out today from the Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) finds long-term state disinvestment in public colleges and universities, in addition to long-standing racial and economic injustice, continue to disproportionately harm BIPOC students.

Dismantling Dire Disparities: A Closer Look at Racially Inequitable Funding at Public Four-Year Colleges and Universities examines funding and resource patterns from the Great Recession to the peak of the economic recovery (2006 to 2018) and takes a deep dive into the public four-year colleges that disproportionately enroll and graduate BIPOC students. Inadequate and inequitable funding persisted at public colleges and universities during the 12-year period, especially for community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and other Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) that primarily educate Black and Latina/o students.

“A growing body of evidence points to the critical role institutional resources play in seeing students through to graduation, making college costs more affordable for students, and improving diversi­ty, equity, and inclusion on campus,” noted report author and TICAS research director Oliver Schak. “Investment in HBCUs, Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs), and MSIs is a key indicator of policymakers’ commitment to equitable funding for public colleges and universities. Tragically, long-term disinvestment in public colleges and universities, in addition to longstanding racial and economic injustice, continue to disproportionately effect these schools and the students they enroll.”

Dismantling Dire Disparities shows that state disinvestment and the slow recovery in funding after the Great Recession severely impacted the disparities in resources available to more racially inclusive public four-year schools and their students, and colleges that educate higher shares of BIPOC students continued to receive fewer resources. These trends represent a continuation in preexisting disparities in state investment and resources for public colleges and universities. In addition to the harmful impacts of long-term underinvestment in public higher education, the report also found that COVID-19 increased financial uncertainty for colleges that have relatively fewer financial resources available to adjust to a rapidly changing higher education landscape.

TICAS calls for doubling the Pell Grant and creating a new federal-state funding partnership for public colleges in the report, and recommends investing in proven strategies to help many more students graduate, and pushes for better data to support tracking, assessment, and strategy in closing equity gaps.


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