April 28, 2016
Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund
Research Study Finds that Asian American and Pacific Islander Students Face Financial Barriers to Access Higher Education
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF), in partnership with the Asian American & Pacific Islander Research Coalition (ARC), released the "Invisible Financial Barriers to College Access for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders" report, which highlights the financial barriers that Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students face transitioning into postsecondary education.
Despite common misconceptions that all AAPIs achieve academic success and have access to equal opportunities, many do not have the tools, resources and support to successfully attend and persist through college. In particular, the report highlights that AAPIs have limited access to postsecondary options; experienced a lack of adequate information and support about college and financial aid; faced noteworthy barriers to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) submission and verification processes; and struggled with persisting economic challenges.
"Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders represent a vastly diverse and nuanced community and, contrary to general belief, we have some of the most overlooked and underserved communities. This report highlights the financial barriers that AAPIs face when embarking on the college access journey - we need more reports like this to show that these struggles are culturally and economically unique," said Neil Horikoshi, APIASF President & Executive Director. "The next step is to create programs and policies that service these needs and work towards educational equity for all - including the AAPI community."
"This report is informed by the voices of diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander students. It reveals the financial barriers that these students face on the road to higher education, which are often invisible. To date, it is the largest effort to directly address Asian American and Pacific Islander student and family concerns around issues of college affordability," said Tracy Lachica Buenavista, one of the authors of the report. The other author of the report, Sam Museus clarified that, "The report summarizes research that can inform higher education policy aimed at maximizing college access among Asian American and Pacific Islander students. It also highlights the need for more culturally responsive programming to support these students in accessing financial aid and college."
Key findings of the APIASF/ARC report include:
- Almost a majority of respondents juggle responsibilities to provide some household income. Many survey respondents (49%) worked at least one job during their academic year.
- Nearly a majority of surveyed students were hesitant to take out over $5,000 in loans to pay for college. 47 percent of students agreed that the highest total amount of loans they were willing to borrow to pay for college was between $0 and $5,000.
- Among respondents, English is not often the primary language spoken in many AAPI households. Coupled with the overly complex language used in many college and financial aid applications, there is a significant cultural barrier for AAPI students and their parents.
The full report is available here.
Based in Washington, D.C., the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) is the nation's largest non-profit organization devoted to providing college scholarships for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). APIASF works to create opportunities for students to access, complete, and succeed after post-secondary education; thereby developing future leaders who will excel in their career, serve as role models in their communities, and will ultimately contribute to a more vibrant America. Since 2003, APIASF has distributed over $100 million in scholarships to AAPI students. APIASF manages three scholarship programs: the APIASF General Scholarship, the APIASF Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander - Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) Scholarship, and the Gates Millennium Scholars/Asian Pacific Islander Americans funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.