VCU achieves federal MSI status

Gupta - VCU College of EngineeringIn 2022, VCU achieved the status of Minority Serving Institution (MSI) and was designated by the U.S. Department of Education as eligible for the federal Title III and Title V MSI and Strengthening Institutions Programs (SIP) for having met rigorous standards in the service of minority students, low-income students, and student success. This status must be renewed each year.

What is a Minority-Serving Institution?

Minority-Serving Institutions are U.S colleges and universities that enroll a high percentage of minority students and often face greater financial challenges compared to their peer institutions. Because minority and low-income populations experience disproportionate barriers to higher education, the federal government established programs under the Higher Education Act to support the institutions who serve them. To qualify, institutions must meet specific primary indicators that include student body demographics, including enrollment by race and ethnicity as well as the percentage of low-income students.

Our MSI eligibility has a specific focus on students who are from Asian American and Pacific Islander backgrounds. We have also qualified for the Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP), which recognizes colleges and universities serving a high proportion of low-income students.

This status will help VCU amplify and grow its student success initiatives to promote access and equity. In addition, VCU is now eligible for federal grants and related assistance to empower VCU to expand its capacity to serve and conduct research. To remain competitive, we must continue to demonstrate institutional commitment and support for our minority students and support their success.

What does this mean for researchers?

man-looking-at-computerResearchers and scholars at MSIs are crucial to advancing the frontiers of knowledge. VCU is now eligible to compete for grants under Title III of the Higher Education Act. With this designation, VCU researchers can now take advantage of certain funding opportunities which are either open to institutions including MSIs or are open only to MSIs.

Check funding sponsors’ websites for more information on opportunities specifically available to MSIs. Please note that not all federal agencies offer MSI-related opportunities. The links below to agencies which often support VCU research is not a comprehensive list but should be viewed as a start to your search for more information and support opportunities.

Some applications may request a letter certifying VCU’s MSI eligibility. Read the letter from the U.S. Department of Education.