Nearly one year ago, MnEEP was awarded a grant from the Joyce Foundation, a nonpartisan, private charitable organization based in Chicago, Illinois, to research access to college and college completion in Minnesota. MnEEP was tasked to explore how the current student financial aid system has an impact on the opportunities and successes of People of Color and American Indian and/or Indigenous (POCI) students attaining a college credential in Minnesota.
In the coming weeks, MnEEP will share the results in our latest policy brief, Reducing Racial Disparities in College Completion: The Case for an Equitable Higher Education Financial Aid System in Minnesota.
MnEEP believes that a racially equitable statewide higher education system that supports POCI students in completing college with certificates or degrees is necessary for the socioeconomic health of Minnesota. Our state needs more highly skilled workers to support a growing economy, and completing a college credential is essential to social and racial justice in our state.
Yet Minnesota has well-chronicled racial disparities in college completion between White students and POCI students.
This must change if Minnesota is to benefit from the talents and creativity of POCI students.
To begin this work to change and transform systems, it’s essential to first analyze the state’s student financial aid system and its corresponding practices and policies through a race equity lens.
This MnEEP-led research project, and a newly forming MnEEP-led advocacy campaign for transforming higher education financial aid policy, represents a new and bold opportunity for the state of Minnesota to reflect on its policies and institutional practices.
MnEEP partnered with leaders from PreK-12 and higher education through our Research Collaborative Table (RCT). This group meets on a monthly basis to guide MnEEP’s research-related work using a race equity lens for ways to transform systems, policies, and practices.
Additionally, MnEEP established at the outset of the research process, a project management team led by key researchers and experts from the field of higher education to lead and guide the work of the team in exploring, and later presenting, in the form of a policy brief, the following:
- Present limitations of Minnesota’s higher education financial aid system in reaching racially equitable results for POCI students;
- Identify key racial barriers and disparities between POCI students and White students in college completion in Minnesota;
- Explore the major consequences of racial disparities in college completion; and
- Provide Minnesota higher education financial aid policy recommendations for the purpose of increasing college persistence and completion for POCI students.
Please be on the lookout for MnEEP’s forthcoming policy brief Reducing Racial Disparities in College Completion. We are excited and humbled to be presenting the findings and recommendations from the research we conducted, supported by the Joyce Foundation.
If you are interested in learning more about MnEEP, the Research Collaborative Table, and/or the newly developing advocacy coalition and emerging campaign for higher education financial aid policy transformation based on our new policy brief, please contact Leiataua Dr. Jon Peterson: firstname.lastname@example.org.