Press Releases

May 12, 2011

APIASF Builds on Second Annual Higher Education Summit with Sessions Focused on Addressing Disparities Among Asian and Pacific Islander American Students

The Nation's Largest Gathering Focused on Increasing Asian and Pacific Islander American College Completion and Student Success

For Immediate Release

Contact: Tia T. Gordon

Washington, D.C., May 12, 2011—As mischaracterizations of the APIA community such as the "model minority" myth often contribute to exclusion from federally-supported policies, programs, and initiatives that help support the success of underserved students, several highly acclaimed experts are coming together with the goal of increasing Asian American Pacific Islander (APIA) college completion and student success at the 2011 Asian & Pacific Islander Scholarship Fund (APIASF) College Completion Forum: Strengthening Institutions that Serve Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, June 27-28, 2011, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. Participants at the second annual event are aiming to raise awareness of the unique needs of the APIA community and develop best practices and policies by focusing on four critical areas: (1) research and assessment, (2) policy and advocacy, (3) institutional capacity, and (4) sustainable partnerships.

Focusing specifically on the national college completion agenda and its impact on the APIA community, the two-day event is set to provide additional insight on the following areas:

"Session outcomes will help identify policies and practices concerning not only the success of the APIA student population, but to support postsecondary education equity and inclusion to increase the success of all students," said APIASF President and Executive Director Neil Horikoshi. "As the United States strives to become globally competitive in the 21st century, additional investments in higher education policies must be made immediately to help address the complex set of social realities faced by students in the underrepresented and underserved APIA community—one of the fastest-growing minority populations in the United States."

The 2011 APIASF College Completion Forum aims to address recent projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and findings from the 2010 National Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Research in Education report, Federal Higher Education Policy Priorities and the Asian and Pacific Islander American Community, showing the fastest-growing and most in-demand jobs will require some level of postsecondary education or training. The event brings together a large multicultural group of stakeholders from across the country who represent a diverse cross-sector of communities—including students; policymakers; national and local government officials; and leaders from the higher education, community-based, and corporate sectors.

In addition, the 2011 forum is part of APIASF's higher education summit series, which was created as a way to begin an engaging conversation about issues impacting APIA students to improve access and success for all underserved students. Last year's event welcomed more than 300 attendees to address the obstacles of access and success for underserved APIA students while building a case for needed federal policies, increased investments, and improved research and data collection.

The model minority myth is a prevailing assumption that deems APIAs as being a financially successful and well-educated population. This includes a frequently-held belief, though misleadingly, that APIAs have disproportionately high enrollment in highly selective, four-year institutions and are in such academic fields as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. However, there are large disparities of the APIA student population related to high school dropout rates, college attendance, and workforce mobility and leadership opportunities.

For more information about the 2011 APIASF College Completion Forum: Strengthening Institutions that Serve Asian and Pacific Islander Americans or to register, visit APIASF's Web site at Also, follow APIASF on Facebook ( and Twitter ( to receive daily updates about the event.

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 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.