Education in the City: 10 Urban MSIs

Some of the most vibrant MSIs are located in the nation’s urban cities, offering students access to a diversity of cultural and professional experiences. Today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up highlights 10 urban colleges and universities. 

1) CUNY Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) – AANAPISI/HSI


Founded in 1964 and located in the Big Apple, BMCC serves a student body of approximately 35,000 students hailing from 155 countries.

2) California State University, Northridge – AANAPISI/HSI

Cal State Northridge

Cal State, Northridge boasts about 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students located on 356-acres in the urban mecca of Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley.

3) Clark Atlanta University – HBCU


Clark Atlanta is located at the heart of downtown metro Atlanta with a primarily Black student population of approximately 3,500 students. It came to exist in 1988 as the result of the consolation of Atlanta University, the nation’s first institution to award graduate degrees to African Americans, and Clark College, the nation’s first four-year liberal arts college.

4) Howard University – HBCU

Howard Pic 2

Founded in 1867, Howard serves more than 10,000 students and is located two miles from the nation’s capitol in Washington D.C. Howard produces more minority doctoral students in computer science than any other university in the U.S.

5) Los Angeles City College – AANAPISI/HSI


Los Angeles City College is a two-year public college serving nearly 19,000 students in the east corner of Hollywood, just minutes from Hollywood shopping and entertainment, Universal Studio’s CityWalk, and Downtown Los Angeles.

6) Miami Dade College – HSI

Miami Dade College

Miami Dade College first opened its doors amidst desegregation during the 1960s and the influx of thousands Cuban refugees. Back then, it was known as Dade County Junior College. Currently, it serves more than 165,000 students across its seven campuses.

7) Morgan State University (MSU) – HBCU


Including undergraduate and graduate students, MSU serves almost 8,000 students in Baltimore, Maryland. It was originally founded as the Centenary Biblical Institute in the late-19th century and became Morgan College in 1890.

8) New Jersey City University (NJCU) – HSI


Approximately 8,400 students attend NJCU.  Located in a bustling urban environment close to the Jersey City waterfront, NJCU exposes its students to many academic opportunities.

9) Pierce College – PBI

Peirce College

Pierce College’s primarily focuses on adult learners in the Philadelphia area. Founded in 1865, it currently serves more than 2,000 students.

10) University of Houston, Downtown (UHD) – HSI


University of Houston, Downtown is in the heart of Houston, where its vibrant city atmosphere attracts over 13,000 students. UHD was founded in 1974 in the fourth largest city in the country.

Get Up, Stand Up: Social Activism at 8 MSIs

While confined in a Birmingham city jail, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Rallies, protests, marches, campaigns and demonstrations are just some of the ways Minority Serving Institutions across the country are displaying their commitment to social action and activism. This week’s MSI Line Up features MSIs who answered music legend Bob Marley’s call to “Get Up, Stand Up. Stand Up for your Rights. Get Up, Stand Up. Don’t Give Up the Fight!”

1.) University of Maryland, College Park

The decision of the Missouri grand jury not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri set off protests across the nation. Students at the University of Maryland-College Park, an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI), marched across the campus in an effort to express their discontent with the decision. University of Maryland President, Wallace Loh who participated in the civil rights march in Washington, DC in 1963, called the campus community to reflection and action, saying “In the coming days and weeks, I encourage our students, faculty and staff to engage in open dialogue on critical issues of race and tolerance and justice.” Congratulations to the University of Maryland for their commitment to justice.

Wallace Loh

Wallace Loh, University of Maryland president

2.) Howard University

Students at Howard University, one of the country’s most prominent Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), are no strangers to social action. Howard’s most recent display of activism can be seen in the emergence of hashtag, #BlackLoveMatters, which stems from #BlackLivesMatter. #BlackLoveMatters arose as Howard University students protested LGBT intolerance amongst the Black community. Rainbow flags and signs that read, “God Loves Everyone,” were reflected all across campus. Our utmost respect goes out to Howard University student activists and their influence on social action through social media. #WORD.


Howard students protest on campus with “ALL Black Love Matters” signs

3.) University of California, Riverside

A group of students occupied UC Riverside’s administration building this past November in order to protest UC President Janet Napolitano’s proposal to raise tuition rates 5% per year over the next five years. The students felt they were not invited to the conversation regarding these changes despite having previously asked to be involved. “We asked to have dialogue before,” said Jessica Urguidez, 21, a fourth-year UCR student majoring in political science and ethics studies, “but we were not included in the conversation.” The protest allowed the students voices to be heard and for UC administration to consider including students in such monumental decisions in the future.

UC Riverside

Students at UC Riverside protest at the university’s administration building

4.) Gateway Community College

The environmental issue of access to freshwater is a common issue that needs to be remedied in many countries outside of the United States. Engineering students at Gateway Community College, an HSI located in Phoenix, AZ, have partnered with students at the University of Guanajuato, located in the small community of Guanajanto, Mexico.  In June 2015, Guantajuato students and chemistry professor Gilberto Carreno spent a week at Gateway.  This partnership has been fruitful for Gateway students and Guanajuato University students and reminds us not to take anything for granted.


Gateway and Guanajuato students in the lab at Gateway College

5.) Lincoln University

On Saturday, November 15th, Lincoln University students held a silent protest outside of the university’s Board of Trustees Meeting held in the University’s International Cultural Center. The protest came in response to president Robert Jennings comments relating to women and rape claims. Many at this HBCU felt that Jennings comments blamed women for their encounters with sexual assault. The protests put the students in position to have their voices heard about their dissatisfaction with university administration. They agreed to vote on a Vote of Confidence in the university and its directions. Way to go for students unsilencing their voices and unmasking their opinions!


Student with his mouth taped in efforts to bring about change through the #UnSilenceOurVoice hashtag

6.) Virginia State University

Hundreds showed up on a Tuesday morning in September to peacefully protest the direction Virginia State University is heading. The HBCU was slated to face a $19 million budget shortfall. Students were not happy with this probable direction and decided to peacefully protest in order to have their needs such as requesting a greater bandwidth for campus wireless in order to complete homework. This sounds like a reasonable request. Administrators at Virginia State University have responded to the protests by making it clear that they are listening to students and working to address their issues.


Virginia State University campus

7) University of Massachusetts-Boston

Modeling the Occupy Wall Street movement, students at UMass Boston (an AANAPISI) occupied the campus center of the school in order to protest cuts in public education. Although the students faced pushback from the university, the group made it a point to remain camped out indefinitely. Their demonstration created a buzz amongst the campus community and opened up other students eyes to an important economic issue.


Students camp out in tents for Occupy UMass Boston

8.) John Jay College of Criminal Justice

The Students for Justice in Palestine at John Jay College decided to pen a letter to the college’s president regarding their reasons for protest and demonstration on campus. The group was accused by members of the campus community of creating tension amongst Jewish students and the Hillel Club. The group, firm in their beliefs, made it clear in the letter that their mission is to bring justice and education about the human rights violations committed by the state of Israel against the Palestine people but not to intimidate Jewish students. In the note, the group wrote, “We were there to educate those who were open to and interested in learning.”


Students for Justice in Palestine group rally

Activism comes with costs, which the benefits far outweigh. No price tag can be placed on the spirit of solidarity which manifests from social action. The histories of many Minority Serving Institutions have often been rooted and grounded in social activism. We are all resting on the shoulders of those who came before us and for this we are grateful.

Making Hashtags Count: Top Tweets from #APIASFSummit

The Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) hosted its sixth annual Higher Education Summit late last month in Washington, DC, bringing together leaders across the country under the theme: “Ensuring AAPI Student Success: Prospering in America’s Future Workforce.” Twitter was abuzz with all kinds of interesting discussions, data, and insightful quotes.

Ever wonder what goes on in the minds of leaders working with AANAPISIs? Let’s check the tweets and find out:














8 Notable HSI Alumni in Congress

As some of the most outspoken advocates among college graduates, many HSI alumni go on to do important work that is not just intellectual but also political. Today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up features 8 notable HSI alumni who currently work in Congress. Do any of them represent your congressional district?

1.) Ileana Ros-Lehtinen


An alumni from Florida International University, Ros-Lehtinen became the first Cuban American and Latina to be elected to Congress in 1989. She is currently the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 27th congressional district. She was the first Republican woman elected to the House from Florida, and she is the most senior Republican woman in the House of Representatives.

2.) Jim Costa

JimCosta  fresno

Costa, born and raised on a dairy farm in Fresno’s Kearney Park area, is a third-generation family farmer who graduated in 1974 from California State-Fresno. He is a member of the Democratic Party and has been the U.S. Representative for California’s 16th congressional district since 2004. His district is very compact and includes Fresno and Merced residents. Due to his experience of living on a dairy farm, Costa advocates for the Valley’s fair share of water, agriculture, and the economy.

3.) Luis V. Gutiérrez

luis gu neiu2

A graduate from Northeastern Illinois University, Congressman Luis V. Gutiérrez has been a U.S. Representative for Illinois’s 4th congressional district since 1992. He played a very important role in advocating for executive action alongside President Obama in order to provide deportation relief to long-term undocumented immigrants and their families. Gutiérrez advocated strongly for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protects child immigrants brought to the U.S. from deportation. He has also worked with immigrants in Chicago and around the country to apply for the deportation protections to keep families together.

4.) Lucille Roybal-Allard

Roybal-Allard_feature-770x434  calistate

Roybal-Allard was the first Mexican-American woman elected into Congress in 1992. She was born in Boyle Heights, California and graduated from California State University-Los Angeles. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, she has worked endlessly to create jobs, improve health services, and create better educational opportunities for California’s 40th congressional district. She also ranks as one of the top-level supporters of immigration reform, labor unions, veterans, rights of women and children, and homeland security.

5.) Maxine Waters

Maxine Waters calistate

Maxine Waters, the U.S. Representative for California’s 43rd congressional district, is another notable alum from California State University-Los Angeles. The fifth of 13 children, she began working in a segregated restaurant at the age of 13, and after graduating high school at 18, she married and had two children. Her family decided to move to Los Angeles where she found work in a garment factory. After that, she was hired as an assistant teacher at a Head Start program. She later attended California State University-Los Angeles and graduated with a degree in sociology in 1970. She is known for her fearless and outspoken advocacy for women, children, poverty, and people of color.

6.) José E. Serrano

jose  lehman

Born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, Serrano migrated to the U.S with his family and moved to the Bronx. After graduating from Lehman College, he served in the U.S. Army medical corps. Serrano represents the 15th congressional district of New York in the Bronx and oversees the budgets of multiple agencies, including the Treasury Department and many more. He is also affiliated with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and served as Chair from 1993-1994. He is the most senior member of Puerto Rican descent in Congress.

 7.) Rubén Hinojosa

Rubengu panamerican

A democrat since 1997, Hinojosa serves as the representative for Texas’s 15th congressional district, which stretches from the Rio Grande Valley to Guadalupe County, southeast of San Antonio. He received his master’s from University of Texas-Pan American after receiving a B.A. in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin. Hinojosa was the president and chief financial officer of his family’s food slaughter company, H&H Foods, for 20 years. In 1987, the U.S. Small Business Administration named the Hinojosas “Minority Entrepreneur of the Year.” In Congress, Hinojosa is known as a strong advocate for the disadvantaged, education, housing and economic development.

8.) Bobby L. Rush

rush bobby uic

In 1973, Rush earned his B.A. with honors from Roosevelt University in Chicago. He went on to pursue his master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1974. Rush has been a democrat working as the U.S. Representative for Illinois’ 1st Congressional District since 1993. His district is located on the south side of Chicago, which has a 65% population of African-Americans, making it the highest populated African-American congressional district in the nation. Rush is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and is best known for being the only person to defeat President Obama during the 2000 Democratic primary for the 1st Congressional District. His passions include focusing on the importance of low- and middle-income families and communities, supporting small businesses, and adequate healthcare for all.