CSU submits written testimony for Higher Education and Workforce Investment House Subcommittee Hearing

CSU is thrilled to share that the U.S. House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment discussed the importance of Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), including Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs). President Scott was honored to submit written testimony for the Congressional record.  The House Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment streamed the hearing on Investing in Economic Mobility: The Important Role of Hispanic Serving Institutions and Other Minority Serving Institutions on YouTube

President Scott’s written testimony is below:

Chairwoman Wilson, Ranking Member Miller-Meeks, and distinguished members of the Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee, I am pleased to submit this statement on behalf of Chicago State University and respectfully request that it be added to the record.

My name is Z Scott. I am the President of Chicago State University and I thank this committee for continuing to highlight the value of Minority-Serving Institutions of Higher Education (MSIs). Chicago State University is an MSI that is classified as a Predominantly Black Institution or PBI. As this committee knows well, there are various types of MSIs, each charged with serving a particular group of minority students. To be designated as a PBI by the U.S. Department of Education, an institution must enroll at least 40% African-American students, have at least 50% low-income or first-generation degree-seeking undergraduate students, and must have a low per full-time undergraduate student expenditure as compared to institutions offering similar instruction. In other words, to be a PBI means focusing on serving underserved and nontraditional students, many of whom are African American.

Our university, Chicago State, is the only four-year, public PBI in the Midwest and our student body reflects the PBI definition:

Serving these students is our mission and we are proud to produce 1 in 10 of the Black college graduates in the state of Illinois and are motivated by the fact that within a year of graduation 75% of our graduates are employed within their field of study.

Due to the population we serve as a PBI, Chicago State University, like its fellow MSIs, serves as an engine of upward mobility for students of color. For example, based on a recent economic impact study, it was determined that Chicago State University students receive a present value of $288 million in increased earnings over their working lives. This translates to an annual rate of return of 24.3% for every dollar invested in our students’ education. We believe this is an investment worth making and urge this committee to continue its support of MSIs and increase funding for all MSIs.

Because PBIs and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) both share a commitment to serving black students, PBIs and HBCUs are often considered one and the same, but they are distinct, have distinct funding, and an institution cannot be a PBI and a HBCU.  Nationwide there are approximately 100 PBIs, which are a mix of four-year and two-year institutions. 

I, along with other presidents of PBIs, have joined together to create a Coalition of PBIs for the purpose of highlighting our mission, the students we serve, and our funding needs.

         We appreciate this committee’s support of PBIs and ask that it work to increase overall funding. For example, with respect to PBIs, for 2022, the House of Representatives allocated $40 million in funding for PBIs. As PBIs serve approximately 290,176 students, this amounts to about $127 per PBI student. Based on the population of students we serve and institutional needs, we respectfully ask that the House work to increase funding amounts. We also appreciate that the funds allocated by the House will go to support the Strengthening PBIs program, set forth under the Higher Education Act. Yet, another program designed to support Master’s Degrees at PBIs under the Higher Education Opportunity Act has not been funded since 2014. We ask this committee to help change this. 

We ask the Committee to immediately support:

We also ask that the Committee consider and support new legislative solutions, including:

In this country, we are rapidly arriving at a place, where post-secondary education is not just a “nice to have”, it is becoming a “must have” for anyone who hopes for a good career, the opportunity to work in a high-skilled job, and the chance to have a better life. The role of higher education, and the role of MSIs, could not be more important and we appreciate this committee’s

focus and commitment. We hope that the funding needs of PBIs, as well as the needs of all MSIs, will be at the forefront of this committee’s future efforts.