2012 APIASF Higher Education Summit Series

Overview | Agenda | Sponsorship Levels | Travel Grants | Evening Reception | Press Release

Advancing the Democratic Mission of Higher Education:
The Relevance of Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders

Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.
Pavilion Room
June 20, 2012

2012 Summit Cover

On June 20, 2012, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) will host its annual Higher Education Summit around the theme, Advancing the Democratic Mission of Higher Education: The Relevance of Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. Organized into a series of presentations, panels, and round table discussions, the 2012 APIASF Higher Education Summit will shed light on national data outlining the demography of APIAs in the U.S. (e.g., 2010 U.S. Census data, 2012 CARE report) and its impact on educational policies, institutions, and students as it relates to diversity and equity. Panels and round table discussions will highlight what democracy means to APIAs and the crucial role institutions such as Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions that serve a significant percentage of APIA students play in advancing the democratic mission of higher education.

Advancing the democratic mission of higher education through student success investments yields economic growth and serves as a major factor in ensuring our nation's ability to compete in a global society as well as cultivating a pipeline of diverse workers and future leaders who demonstrate civic engagement and social responsibility. According to the 2012 report put forth by the National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement within the Association of American Colleges and Universities, college student engagement around civic learning opportunities tend to showcase higher retention rates and possess a stronger likelihood to complete college. Given current and projected demographic shifts, educating all students of color, including APIAs, will be critical to meeting President Obama's goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020, thereby contributing to the economic and democratic strength of our nation. The current economic landscape has only made this priority more urgent. The 2010 U.S. Census data projects that by 2050 the minority population in the U.S. will comprise of nearly 42 percent, with 40 million representing APIAs. The APIA community is unique from other racial communities as it represents at least 48 ethnicities, 300 languages, and includes but is not limited to a diversity of experiences pertaining to immigration history, class, culture, religion, and educational and social mobility. In the coming years, the education system in the United States must continue to address a rapidly growing underserved student population, including Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, many who demonstrate some of the lowest college attainment rates. While college completion is not the only goal driving reform, it is a national priority that can facilitate Asian and Pacific Islander American populations to actively participate in and contribute to diverse, democratic global communities.

At the crux of the college completion agenda must be the call for a more responsive and effective higher education system committed to closing ongoing equity gaps (i.e., in educational attainment and workforce and democratic participation) and celebrating the diversity of the changing face of our nation. The college attainment goal cannot be accomplished without a focus on requiring the contributions and participation of all minority groups. In light of their innovative and holistic approaches to serving their students' needs, minority-serving institutions (MSIs), which enroll nearly 14 percent of the college-going student population, play a vital role in advancing the college completion agenda and the democratic mission of higher education, particularly for underserved student populations. Alongside Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), AANAPISIs are a significant contributor to the collective strength of MSIs. As such, AANAPISIs are uniquely positioned to facilitate the goals of college completion for underserved APIA students and to essentially respond to larger educational and economic disparities (i.e., high school dropout rates, college attendance, workforce mobility, and obtainment of leadership and decision-making positions in the workforce) that exist within the APIA community and the greater multicultural community.

The 2012 APIASF Higher Education Summit will provide participants the opportunity to engage in discussions revolving around national priorities on diversity and equity, democratic engagement, and identifying key stakeholders and resources that play a critical role in addressing these challenges and meeting related objectives. The forum will conclude with a special reception hosted by APIASF and will be attended by key leaders in the education, policy, non-profit, private and public sectors. This event is by invitation only.

For additional information about the event please contact us at or (202) 747-7236.