Beyond College Tuition: Urban Institute Looks at Other Factors Impacting College Affordability

Title: Federal Support for Hispanic Serving Institutions During Covid-19: Analysis and Recommendations

Authors: Excelencia in Education

Source: Excelencia in Education

A new report from Excelencia in Education highlights how CARES Act implementation may have adversely impacted Latino college students and their institutions. According to the report, 410 Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) received relief funds from the CARES Act, totaling $192 million. Their analysis found that CARES Act funds distribution was based on a count of full-time equivalent (FTE) students rather than a total headcount of all students. This disadvantaged HSIs and other institutions as they enroll greater proportions of part-time students.

The analysis of funding allocation found:

  • HSIs received only 21 percent of the $1 billion appropriated for minority serving institutions (MSIs), despite comprising more than half of all MSIs.
  • Nine institutions who did not meet the required 25 percent Latino FTE enrollment threshold for HSI designation received HSI funding regardless, while more than 100 designated HSIs received no emergency funding.
  • In contrast with the Higher Education Act, the CARES Act allowed institutions to receive MSI funds through multiple designations.

The authors argue that, as part-time students may face more financial uncertainty than their full-time peers, allocating less funding for part-time students disproportionately harms them. The report recommends future funding formulas allocate funding based on total headcounts rather than full-time equivalent counts as this may undercount Latino student enrollment patterns. A new funding formula would also provide equitable funding for two-year institutions. Moreover, the authors suggest clear guidance be published around eligibility for HSI funding allocations, including those with branch campuses, and suggest more analysis is needed to consider the impact of allocating funding through multiple MSI designations.

To read the full brief, visit the Excelencia in Education website here.

Charles Sanchez

Higher Education Today