Cal Poly has received approval from the Department of Education to be designated a minority-serving institution during the 2020 fiscal year.

Cal Poly applied for and received a designation as an Asian American-, Native American-, and Pacific Islander-serving institution. This designation allows Cal Poly faculty and staff to apply for federal grant funding that is reserved specifically for certain minority-serving institutions, as well as funding that may be put toward strategic planning, faculty development and endowments.

The designation requires that Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander students make up at least 10% of the institution’s enrollment. In fall 2019, 13.8% of Cal Poly’s enrolled students identified as within those demographic categories. The university also demonstrated that it was taking steps to substantially increase higher education opportunities for underrepresented students at Cal Poly.

In alignment with Cal Poly’s strategic priority to enrich the campus culture of diversity, equity and inclusion, new sources of potential funding would enable the university to expand its capacity to serve low-income students and students from groups that are minoritized in higher education by improving and strengthening the support and resources available to these students. Cal Poly will now be more competitive for grants offered by federal agencies including the Department of Education, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and Department of Energy, among other agencies.

“It is important that we view this designation as an opportunity rather than an achievement,” said President Jeffrey D. Armstrong. “We’ve made some improvements to our campus climate, but our CPX (Cal Poly Experience) data and our student, faculty and staff experiences show us clearly that we need to do more. I’m excited to see where this new opportunity leads, and I know that our campus will use it to make an impact.”

Cal Poly is the 22nd CSU campus to be designated as a minority-serving institution. The designation is active for one year, and the university must reapply and show progress in increasing higher education opportunities for students from underrepresented groups at Cal Poly.