History and Milestones

Our History

Due to ongoing misperceptions about the Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) and a lack of disaggregated data, there continue to be significant challenges for students in higher education. APIASF was formed in the early 2000s at a time when resources for APIA students looking to pursue higher education were limited and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs) were not recognized as minority serving institutions by the U.S. Department of Education. These barriers prevented many students from receiving access to resources that could support their academic goals and caused the institutions serving the highest concentrations of low-income APIA students from receiving federal funding that could improve success rates on a broader scale. Recognizing the needs of the community, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) was created to help ensure that APIA students have the resources to increase access to higher education which serves as the foundation for their future success and contributions to a more vibrant America.

Since 2003, APIASF is proud to have distributed over $110 million in scholarships to APIA students through the APIASF Scholarship Program, Gates Millennium Scholars Program, and the APIASF AANAPISI Scholarship Program. Through the organization's holistic range of programs and services, APIASF has helped to develop future leaders who excel in their careers, serve as role models in their communities, and contribute to a vibrant America. APIASF's evidence-based approach helps make APIASF one of the leading socially impactful organizations for Asian and Pacific Islander American students in the country.


2002 APIASF Working Group Formed
2003 Articles of Incorporation Completed
2003-04 APIASF Launch Events Held Across the Country
2004 APIASF Receives 501c3 Designation
2005 National Press Club Event to Announce $330,000 Distributed to First Class of APIASF Scholars
2006 APIASF Begins Administration of Gates Millennium Scholars Program
APIASF Hosts First Today's Minds, Tomorrow's Future Benefit Event
2007 APIASF Opens Office in Washington, DC
2008 APIASF Scholarship Increases from $2,000 to $2,500
2009 First Higher Education Award Presented at Scholarship Benefit
2010 First Higher Education Summit
CARE Report Published
First Multi-Year APIASF Scholarship Award
APIASF creates first national scholarship for AANAPISI students
2011 2011 CARE Report Published
Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions Recognized as Minority Serving Institutions
2012 APIASF Recognized by Social Impact Exchange
Partnership for Equity in Education through Research (PEER) Project Launched
2013 First PEER Report Published
First APIASF Scholar Needs Assessment Report Published
First APIASF Jump Start College Tour Event at Georgia State University
2014 APIASF Releases First Report on Burmese & Bhutanese Refugee Community
APIASF Releases Final PEER Report
SMART e-mentoring program launched
2015 APIASF airs first nationwide PSA campaign "Not the Same"
2016 APIASF launches in support of AANAPISI capacity building
APIASF releases report on invisible financial barriers to college
2017 Higher Education Summit relaunched as Higher Education Summit
APIASF hosts first Leadership Academy for APIA high school and college students