June 23, 2010
APIASF CONVENING IDENTIFIES MISCONCEPTIONS AROUND AAPI STUDENTS, PRESENTS PATH TO MEETING OBAMA ADMINISTRATION'S HIGHER EDUCATION GOALS
Representative Mike Honda, Undersecretary Martha Kanter, Kiran Ahuja join APIASF and CARE for first annual Higher Education Summit
News Release — For Immediate Distribution
Jonathan Kent - (202) 455-5368
Vincent Eng - (202) 587-4928
WASHINGTON, DC - On Wednesday, June 23, 2010, the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) convened its first annual Higher Education Summit, bringing together a multi-cultural group of several hundred political and policy leaders, higher education experts, business leaders and students.
"Far too often, AAPI higher education students are invisible or misunderstood in policy discussions. We convened this conference to raise awareness of their needs and craft recommendations to address them," Neil Horikoshi, President & Executive Director of APIASF said. "President Obama has set bold targets in boosting access to higher education in the U.S. By bringing together a wide spectrum of experts, advocates and policy makers, we have demonstrated how crucial AAPI students are to the President's goals."
The summit addressed the obstacles to access and success for underserved Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) students while building a case for needed federal policies, increased investments, and improved research and data collection. Summit attendees based their work the recommendations of a National Commission on AAPI Research in Education (CARE) report which combats the myth that AAPI students are universally high achieving and urges they be part of higher education reform discussions.
"Ridding our educational system of these race-related equity gaps will take time and significant effort, but it is possible. As a former educator for 30 years, this is a lifelong goal of mine. By helping vulnerable minority groups pursue and complete higher education, we simultaneously address socio-economic disparities and racial inequalities, increase the competitiveness of America's workforce, increase our tax base, and provide sustainable alternatives to the ill-fated options that youth tilt toward today," said Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA). "We can only do this if we look past the assumptions we hold, dig deep for better data that better represents our reality, and act quickly on that data to correct any disparities. The summit underscored, correctly, these critical concerns - now we must address them."
The following are among the findings of the CARE report and the Higher Education Summit:
- Large sectors of the AAPI population suffer from high secondary school drop-out rates, low rates of college participation, and low college completion rates.
- The unemployment rates of Pacific Islanders and Southeast Asians three to five times greater than those of many East Asians and South Asians.
- AAPIs face barriers in access to positions of leadership in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. AAPIs comprise only 2.3% of senior executives and 1.5% of all Board seats of Fortune 500 Companies.
- Community colleges and Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions have found some success in combating higher education disparities that AAPI students face.
To address these challenges, the public, private, and non-profit sectors must acknowledge and respond to the lack of AAPIs in certain occupational sectors and the lack of AAPIs in leadership and decision-making positions generally. Colleges and universities must also hire more AAPI faculty, and AAPI students should be included in pipeline programs that target the underrepresentation of minorities in key occupational sectors.
"The CARE report sheds light on how the needs of the AAPI population are relevant to America's commitment to improving access and success in higher education," said Robert Teranishi, Associate Professor of Higher Education at New York University and Principal Investigator of the CARE Project. "Through the summit we have take take the vital next step beginning to work with policy makers to address those needs."
For the full CARE report and recommendations, "Federal Higher Education Policy Priorities and the Asian American and Pacific Islander Community," click here.
Based in Washington, D.C., the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) is the nation's largest non-profit organization devoted solely to providing scholarships for Asian and Pacific Islander Americans (APIA). Since 2003, APIASF has provided a critical bridge to higher education for APIA students across the country by awarding more than $3 million in scholarships to deserving students. APIASF manages two scholarship programs: APIASF's general scholarship and the Gates Millennium Scholars/Asian Pacific Islander Americans funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. APIASF's first annual Higher Education Summit is made possible through the generous support of our presenting sponsors: Walmart and USA Funds. For more information on APIASF, please visit www.apiasf.org.
The National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education (CARE) was formed through a collaboration of the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University, the Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy at New York University, and the College Board. For more information on CARE, please visit http://www.nyu.edu/projects/care.