Dominican University of California has earned a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) designation from the U.S. Department of Education. Under the broader MSI designation, Dominican has qualified specifically as both a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) and an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI), with more than 25% of undergraduate students identifying as Latinx and more than 25% identifying as Asian American or Pacific Islander.
“Having the official designation publicly confirms an identity — and an achievement — that is central to Dominican’s mission and our values,” said Dominican University of California President Nicola Pitchford.
MSI designation underscores the university’s commitment to continuing to increase diversity at Dominican and to serving the needs of future students, particularly those from historically underserved populations.
“This designation is a public commitment to inclusion and equity, a message to our students and prospective students: you belong here and we’re prepared to support you in thriving,” President Pitchford said.
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The MSI designation also represents progress toward President Pitchford’s goal of “educating for ethical action.” In the past decade, the university has developed integrated programming and support equally accessible to students from all backgrounds. The nationally-recognized Dominican Experience enables all students to engage in high-impact practices that deliver a network of full support to nurture deep learning and achievement.
Dominican’s student success program facilitates social mobility through equitable access to connections and experiences for all students regardless of background or social capital and is rooted in well-established research demonstrating the benefits of engagement in high-impact practices, particularly for historically disadvantaged students.
The success of the Dominican Experience is evident in the university’s recent measures of student enrollment and achievement. Since Fall 2011, the percentage of undergraduate students of color, particularly Asian American and Latinx, has increased by nearly 30%. In this same period, graduation rates for first-time first-year students have improved by more than 70%. The four-year graduation rate is 72% and six-year is 74%, well above the national averages of 41% and 60%.
“Outcomes for diverse Dominican students remain exceptionally strong after graduation, in terms of initial earnings and lifetime economic mobility – as well as the less measurable outcomes of lifelong learning, life satisfaction, community contributions, and creativity,” President Pitchford said. “Diverse Dominican graduates make the world a better place.”
Due to its MSI status, Dominican is now eligible for various types of federal funding to support the enrollment, persistence, graduation, and post-graduation success of diverse students. In addition to institutional aid opportunities, faculty, staff, and students are eligible to apply for HSI and AANAPISI grants and internships.