Race, Ethnicity, and College Success: Examining the Continued Significance of the Minority-Serving Institution

Stella M. Flores, Toby J. Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The minority-serving institution (MSI) sector has grown considerably since the 1980s, yet we have less empirical information about what currently influences students to enroll in and complete college at these institutions in comparison to their non-MSI counterparts. We evaluate student postsecondary outcomes by race and ethnicity in Texas's large MSI sector utilizing state administrative data from 1997 to 2008. At the enrollment stage, we find that race is an important predictor of college enrollment, despite controlling for detailed precollege characteristics. At the college-completion stage, however, the effect of race is largely no longer present after accounting for institutional characteristics, including attending an MSI. That is, in most of the cohorts examined, Hispanic and Black students who initially enroll in a four-year institution showed no difference from their White peers in six-year graduation outcomes. In sum, Hispanic-serving institutions are particularly critical locations for Hispanics while the non-MSI community colleges emerge as key institutions for Black students, signaling important implications for how historically Black colleges and universities might address recruitment and transfer strategies. Implications for practitioners and researchers are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-128
Number of pages14
JournalEducational Researcher
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2013


  • Hispanic-serving institutions
  • college access
  • college completion
  • community colleges
  • higher education
  • historically Black colleges and universities
  • minority-serving institutions
  • race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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