About The "Partnership For Equity In Education Through Research" Project

We're the Changing Face of America

The face of American education from K-12 to higher education is at the crossroads of tremendous demographic changes. According to the 2010 U.S. Census data, the Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) population is projected to reach nearly 40 million people by 2050. Data also show APIA students will experience a 35 percent increase in college enrollment over the next decade. APIA students are undoubtedly a rapidly growing population; and, therefore, supporting them can only produce greater civic engagement, economic growth, and leadership development.

Unfortunately, college completion remains elusive for many young APIA students. This student population experiences harsh realities and unique challenges that hinder them from gaining access to higher education and/or earning a college degree. Although nearly half of all APIA students enrolled in higher education are attending community colleges, they are more likely to enter with lower levels of academic preparation in English and mathematics. For example, 55.2 percent of APIA students entering two-year colleges in 2003 had never taken a math course beyond Algebra II in high school, compared to only 12.7 percent of APIA students entering four-year institutions in that same year.

Acknowledging that the challenges faced by APIA students have an impact on all Americans, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) and the National Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Research in Education (CARE) challenged major philanthropic organizations to support a bold three-year initiative that would help realize the full degree-earning potential of the APIA student population. The Kresge Foundation, Lumina Foundation, USA Funds, and the Walmart Foundation all stepped up and agreed to support an innovative effort called, the Partnership for Equity in Education through Research (PEER) project, which was launched in summer 2012.

The PEER project works through strategic partnerships with colleges and universities to help ensure that past access and success challenges experienced by the APIA student population do not continue. Specifically, collaborative work with three of the nation's Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions-De Anza College, City College of San Francisco, and South Seattle Community College-strives to advance America's national college completion goals and the democratic mission of higher education. To view the first report from this work, click here.

In support of the PEER project, APIASF and CARE are together leading the "We're the Changing Face of America" campaign dedicated to increasing access and completion among APIA. Launched in March 2013, the campaign urges campus administrators, higher education leaders, and policymakers to take the following immediate actions:

With greater support from campus administrators, higher education leaders, and policymakers, the PEER project along with the We're the Changing Face of America campaign can possibly reshape the entire U.S. higher education system to equitably meet the unique needs of APIA students.

For more information about the We're the Changing Face of America campaign, email APIASF Director of Strategic Initiatives & Communications, Rita Pin Ahrens, at or visit Also, follow the campaign on Facebook ( and Twitter (