Biden-Harris Administration Opens Nearly $100M in Grant Opportunities for HBCUs, TCCUs, and MSIs and Underserved Students


The U. S. Department of Education recently announced the launch of two grant programs to expand research infrastructure in our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs), and to increase completion and retention rates among underserved students.

The grants, which will provide nearly $100 million for transformational infrastructure investments and evidence-based strategies for improved student outcomes for underserved students, follow more than $25 billion in funding to HBCUs, MSIs, and TCCUs through the Department since President Biden took office. Specifically, this consists of $7.3 billion in cumulative investments for 98 HBCUs, $474.5 million to 35 TCCUs, and $18.1 billion to support MSIs.

“At a time when diversity in higher education is under attack, it’s never been more important to invest in our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Minority-Serving Institutions, community colleges, and other inclusive institutions,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “These grant programs represent opportunities for our nation’s most inclusive and diverse colleges and universities to expand their capacity to drive research and innovation and strengthen evidence-based supports that help underserved students successfully complete their degrees and build brighter futures. The Biden-Harris Administration will continue working to raise the bar for excellence and equity in higher education and invest in institutions committed to helping students of all backgrounds and income levels reach their potential and pursue their dreams.”

Historically Black Colleges or Universities, Tribally Controlled Colleges or Universities, and Minority-Serving Institutions Research and Development Infrastructure Grant Program

The Historically Black Colleges or Universities, Tribally Controlled Colleges or Universities, and Minority-Serving Institutions Research and Development Infrastructure Grant Program (RDI) will provide $50 million to HBCUs, TCCUs, and MSIs to implement transformational investments in research infrastructure, including research productivity, faculty expertise, graduate programs, physical infrastructure, human capital development, and partnerships leading to increases in external funding.

For HBCUs and MSIs, the grant will support institutions in increasing their level of research activity in alignment with the Carnegie Classification designations to move from the Doctoral and Professional Universities (D/PU) classification toward the Doctoral Universities with High Research Activity (R2) classification, or from the Doctoral Universities with High Research Activity (R2) classification towards the Doctoral Universities with Very High Research Activity (R1) classification.

For TCCUs, which have their own Carnegie Classification designation and cannot be classified as R1, R2, or D/PU, the funds will support an increase in research activities, undergraduate research opportunities, faculty development, research development, and infrastructure, including physical infrastructure and human capital development.

The Postsecondary Student Success Grant

Aligned with the goals in the Department’s Raise the Bar Initiative, the Postsecondary Student Success Grant (PSSG) application is now open to institutions to support underserved students. The PSSG grant aims to equitably improve postsecondary student outcomes, including retention, transfer, credit accumulation, and completion, by leveraging data and implementing, scaling, and rigorously evaluating evidence-based activities to support data-driven decisions and actions by institutional leaders committed to inclusive student success. Many students of color and with low incomes still face barriers to successfully enrolling in and completing college, and as the number of non-traditional students in postsecondary education increases, additional and different supports are required to enable students to successfully complete their credentials.  This grant program will provide $45 million to fund evidence-based strategies that result in improved student outcomes for underserved students. The competition will consider applications in two tiers—early phase and mid-phase/expansion—based upon the amount of existing research validating their effectiveness.