Penn Prof Testifies at U.S. Senate Hearing on Minority Serving Institutions

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Media Contact:Jill DiSanto | jdisanto@upenn.edu | 215-898-4820May 20, 2014

Marybeth Gasman from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education testified before the United States Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Tuesday, May 13, at its ninth hearing in advance of the Higher Education Act's reauthorization.

The hearing, “Strengthening Minority Serving Institutions: Best Practices and Innovations for Student Success,” invited experts, including Gasman, to brief the senators about challenges facing minority serving institutions.

As the director of Penn’s Center for Minority Serving Institutions, Gasman testified on key information about MSIs’ role in teaching science, technology, engineering and math, or the STEM fields, to men of color and how MSIs contribute to teacher education on a national scale.

During her testimony, Gasman noted how minority serving institutions make up for deficiencies that happen at the K-12 level, how they cultivate future leadership and provide role models for students of color. She also offered facts based on years of research, such as how roughly 599 minority serving institutions educate 20 percent of all undergraduates in the U.S. and how the cost of tuition at MSIs is, on average, 50 percent lower than at majority institutions.

Gasman made a series of recommendations, including support of fundraising infrastructure at MSIs, data collection surrounding MSIs and investments in teacher education.

“An investment in these institutions moves us all forward,” Gasman said. “As a professor, doing research focused on empowering low-income students of color, it was exciting to see the research being used at a national level. Having an impact is essential.”

A video of the hearing is available here.

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