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

By: Nikki Edgecombe & Jasmine M. Sanders | September 2018
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 find that for each credential type they examine—certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees—MSIs and non-MSIs have very similar credential production patterns by field. They also find that much of the credential production is concentrated in a relatively narrow set of fields.

The authors complement the credential production analysis with an exploratory analysis of the extent to which the fields in which these credentials were earned align with employment in Alabama and California. They find state-level differences in the alignment between high-employment industries and the production of credentials in certain fields. They conclude the paper with a discussion of the research and policy implications of these findings.

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