Credential Production by Field and Labor Market Alignment at Minority-Serving Institutions: A Descriptive Analysis

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Community College Research Center Teachers College, Columbia University


Scholarship on minority-serving institutions (MSIs) has established the critical role they play in spite of significant financial constraints. At the same time, descriptive statistical analyses have also found that MSIs, as a group, have lower completion rates than the national average. More research is thus needed on the factors underlying the institutional performance of MSIs. This paper presents broad analyses intended to provide a snapshot of one facet of MSI institutional performance—credential production. The authors conduct a descriptive analysis of credential production by field of study across the two- and four-year postsecondary education sectors and compare results for MSIs and non-MSIs. They found that for each credential type—certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees—MSIs and non-MSIs have very similar credential production patterns by field. They also found that much of the credential production is concentrated in a relatively narrow set of fields. They found state-level differences in the alignment between high-employment industries and the production of credentials in certain fields. Finally, they concluded this paper with a discussion of the research and policy implications of these findings.



Minority-Serving Institutions, educational attainment, labor market, high employment industries