Press Releases

April 28, 2016

Joy Yoo
Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund

Research Study Finds that Asian and Pacific Islander American 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 and Pacific Islander Americans" report, which highlights the financial barriers that Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) students face transitioning into postsecondary education.

Despite common misconceptions that all APIAs 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 APIAs 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 and Pacific Islander Americans 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 APIAs 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 APIA community."

"This report is informed by the voices of diverse Asian and Pacific Islander American 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 and Pacific Islander American 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 and Pacific Islander American 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:

The full report is available here.

To learn more about APIASF and its research, please visit Also, follow APIASF on Facebook ( and Twitter (


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 and Pacific Islander Americans (APIA). 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 APIA 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.