About the IMPACT AAPI Project

  1. The State of AANAPI Education in the U.S.
  2. The U.S. Department of Education creates 1st AANAPISI grant
  3. De Anza's AANAPISI grant program, IMPACT AAPI

The State of AAPI Education in the U.S.

Diversity Obscured by Stereotypes

There are about 17 million Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in the US[1], representing 43 or more different ethnic groups[3]. There is as much variation among AAPIs in culture and economic status as there is in when and why their families came to the U.S. (some as refugees with few resources and opportunities, others came to work for US employers that needed their expertise).

But these differences in background have not been addressed in the educational system, where Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) have been lumped together and stereotyped as a "model minority" that is "taking over" US higher education, attending top schools and pursuing degrees in only science, technology, engineering, and math.[1]

In reality, 47.3% of AAPIs in higher education attend community colleges[2] for various reasons.[7] However, current research on AAPIs in higher education, especially community colleges, is limited, and more research is necessary to fully understand AAPIs' educational needs.

AAPI Educational Needs Misinterpreted

For example, over half of AAPI students speak a language or dialect other than English at home[2], and while AAPIs are highly proficient in English as a whole, this obscures the fact that there is a huge gap between subgroups in terms of language needs.

Because institutions may misinterpret or ignore the needs of subgroups that don't fit into the stereotype, some students may be placed in the wrong English Language classes, or into Special Education classes.[2]

As a result, there are huge disparities in student success among AAPI subgroups.

The Need for Educational Reform

The huge cultural and linguistic diversity of AAPIs requires much more attention, research, and educational reform in order to help them perform their best. Various reports have advocated for more programs and interventions to help increase the persistence and retention rates of the underserved AAPI populations.[8]

Higher education decision makers have traditionally favored interventions that change the student so they are better able to adapt to the institution's processes and structures.[4] Our project, IMPACT AAPI, as well as several other educational projects nation-wide, focuses more on reforming the institution and holding it accountable.

Want to learn more?

Try these articles & links, some referenced above, for AAPI myths debunked, statistics, and research on best practices:

  1. "'Model Minority' Stereotype Obscures Reality of Asian American and Pacific Islander Educational Experience". June 9, 2008
  2. "National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education (CARE): Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Facts, Not Fiction: Setting the Record Straight." [PDF] June 2008
  3. "United States Government Accountability Office (U.S. GAO):
    Higher Education: Information Sharing Could Help Institutions Identify and Address Some Challenges Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Students Face",
    [PDF] July 2007
  4. "The Equity for All Project at De Anza College: A Review of Key Indicators of Student Participation and Success by Ethnicity". April 2006
  5. "The Truth About 'Model Minorities'." Forbes.com, August 5, 2010
  6. "National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education (CARE): Federal Higher Education Policy Priorities and the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community." [PDF] 2010
  7. "Reasons for Attending, Expected Obstacles, and Degree Aspirations of Asian Pacific American Community CollegeStudents". Community College Journal of Research and Practice, Volume 33, Issue 7. July 2009.
  8. "Asian American College Students Who Are Educationally at Risk." New Directions for Student Services. April 2002.
  9. "Commentary: Remember Asian American and Pacific Islander Students." By Neil Horikoshi for Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, September 19, 2011.
  10. Building the American Mosaic - May 2014
  11. CARE/APIASF - April 2014

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The U.S. Dept of Education's AANAPISI Grant

The U.S. Department of Education Steps In

Legislation was passed to designate an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions (AANAPISI) program[reference], and in 2008, the Office of Postsecondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education provided approximately $10 million in grants to six Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI).

The purpose of this new initiative is to support institutions of higher education in their effort to increase self-sufficiency by improving academic programs, institutional management, and fiscal stability.

To be eligible for the AANAPISI designation, an institution must have an enrollment of undergraduate students that is at least 10 percent Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander, where 'Asian American' is defined as:

a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asian, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam, and 'Native American Pacific Islander' means any descendant of the aboriginal people of any island in the Pacific Ocean that is a territory or possession of the United States.[see reference]

A Qualified Grant Candidate

De Anza College serves Santa Clara County, home to one of the highest concentrations of AANAPIs in the U.S. Approximately 42% of students at De Anza self-report as Asian American or Native American Pacific Islander.

In September 2008, De Anza was awarded an AANAPISI grant.

Curious about this grant? Try these links:

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Our 4 Objectives (GRANT 1)

IMPACT AAPI's goals are to address the educational needs of AANAPISI and disadvantaged students by:

  • increasing student access to college services for AANAPISI students from lower-income geographic areas and families;
  • improving overall student persistence among first-time De Anza students who plan to transfer/obtain a degree or are undecided;
  • improving student readiness for college-level courses among first-time De Anza students who enter the college at pre-collegiate course levels;
  • improving the overall course success rate of AANAPISI subgroups with rates below the college average.

For more information about the first grant, click here: 2008-2011

Our 3 Objectives (GRANT 2)

IMPACT AAPI's goals are to address the educational needs of AANAPISI and disadvantaged students by:

  • improving transfer pathways for AANAPISI subgroups from lower income geographic areas and families;
  • improving student readiness for college-level courses among first-time De Anza students who enter the college at pre-collegiate course levels in English and Math;
  • increasing AANAPISI student access to STEM majors and fields among AANAPISI subgroups.

How We're Going to Narrow the Gap (Grant 2)

We have a multi-faceted approach to support students at different points in the education process, which can be broken down into 3 main categories:

  • Student Success/Support: targeted student success services that facilitate the transition to college,
  • Curriculum/Academics: new classes offered each quarter, designed to facilitate learning and academic success while focusing on AAPI-related issues,
  • Faculty/Staff Training: specialized Staff Development sessions that provide staff and faculty with insight into creating better learning environments.

Our projects are integrated together, and also partner with existing De Anza projects. This ensures that students have a cohesive experience and are supported each step of the way with targeted versions of proven programs.

Want more details?

Check out the following links (also available under the 'Our Projects' section in the navigation bar on the left):

Or, contact us with questions or suggestions.

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