Andrews Designated a Minority Serving Institution

   Campus News | Posted on May 16, 2024

Andrews University has once again been designated as a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) by meeting the criteria as set forth by the United States Department of Education for its services toward minority populations, making the University eligible for various academic and financial benefits. As defined by the Higher Education Act of 1965 and the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, Andrews University is now distinguished as one of the 735 colleges and universities in the United States that provide various opportunities for minority students. This MSI status will be in effect from July 1, 2024–June 30, 2025. A new application is submitted each year to secure the MSI status. Andrews University also qualifies under the US Department of Education as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI).

Padma Tadi Uppala, associate dean for research and creative scholarship in the College of Health & Human Services and professor in the School of Population Health, Nutrition & Wellness, helped secure the University’s standing as an MSI. She shares that the MSI distinction not only provides financial help to students but also provides a portion of financial relief for Andrews University as an organization. For the last several years, Andrews has also been eligible to accept Federal Pell Grants, designated for “undergraduate students who display exceptional financial need,” according to the Federal Student Aid’s website. Uppala notes that Andrews has either received an MSI designation or Pell Grant eligibility every year since 2019, which has allowed Andrews to compete for US Department of Education grants, including one received in 2020 for $2.25 million.

In the 2023–24 school year, Student Financial Services (SFS) recorded 282 student recipients of Pell Grants, which offered additional funds for less financially fortunate students. The MSI designation has also offered partial financial alleviation for both the University and individual students. Cynthia Gammon, associate director of SFS, states, “The MSI title designation, received thanks to Padma Uppala and her efforts, allows Andrews University a waiver of the use of institutional funds. The amount of institutional funds we would have needed to spend without this support would have been $78,933 toward work-study and $83,064 toward SEOG [Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants] for the 2023–24 aid year.”

Examples of opportunities for Andrews University faculty and students include:

  • Partnering with the U.S. Department of the Interior for volunteerism, diverse hiring, grants and scholarships
  • Participating in the Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP), which provides financial assistance and awards to minority serving institutions
  • Accessing NASA diversity workforce programs, including internship and fellowships
  • Engaging with interactive education and outreach programs through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

Uppala calls upon students to take the initiative to seek out opportunities for minority populations on campus. She hopes to see a student council composed of minority student leaders help promote the various existing opportunities and forge paths for new ones.

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