|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|September 24, 2019
NCAPA Celebrates Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions and Calls on the Senate to Act to Protect Funding
Washington, DC— the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) issued the following statement in recognition of Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) Week. The AANAPISI program has been critical for retention, graduation, and providing language access for low-income Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students. Currently, funding for the program is scheduled to expire at the end of the month and while the House of Representatives passed the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act to extend funding, the legislation is being blocked in the Senate.
Considering the immense impact the AANAPISI program has had for the AAPI community, AANAPISI Week should be a time for celebration and appreciation; however, due to opposition in the Senate, the future of this program is in jeopardy. We commend the House of Representatives for recognizing that without swift action, funding for the AANAPISI program would expire at the end of the month, yet despite overwhelming bipartisan support, this legislation is being obstructed in the Senate.
The Senate must do better than to deny funding for Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander students, millions of other students of color and low-income students and the educational institutions that serve them. We call on the Senate to pass the FUTURE Act immediately.
"The AANAPISI program has been absolutely critical to the educational success of Southeast Asian American students," said Quyen Dinh, Executive Director of Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC). "As students from low-income, refugee communities who are often the first in their families to attend college, SEAA youth may struggle to access, afford, and complete higher education. AANAPISIs have helped to close this gap by providing SEAA students with the resources needed to help navigate complex educational systems and a community to strengthen their SEAA identity. The Senate must take up the bill immediately to ensure that it is signed into law by September 30. Congress cannot allow funding to lapse."
Jonathan Vorasane, the Chair of Laotian American National Alliance (LANA), stated, "AANAPISI status is critical for our community as data continues to show the need for support for our community members. AANAPISI funding is important for the success of our community members where 43% of APIAs attend an AANAPISI serving institutions. The services provided by AANAPISI institutions are unparalleled in providing quality education to communities in need."
David Inoue, the Executive Director of Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), said, “Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) are vital to ensuring that higher education is available to the most vulnerable Asian American and Pacific Islander students. Contrary to the false narrative that Asian Americans are overrepresented in our colleges, there remain many impediments to pursuing the dream of higher education for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and AANAPISIs help remove some of those barriers.”
“The bipartisan FUTURE Act is imperative for getting our nation’s poorest, particularly immigrant and first-generation students to and through college. The Senate needs to do its job and vote on MSI funding before it runs out this month,” said Rita Pin Ahrens, OCA National Executive Director. “Voting yes now for the FUTURE Act as we celebrate HBCU Week, HSI Week, AANAPISI Week, and National Tribal College Week throughout the months of September and October sends a strong message of support and celebration of America’s growing diversity."
AANAPISI educator and Vice President of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO, Kim Geron said, "the creation of AANAPISIs was a long campaign by many in the API community to combat the model minority myth. As a Principal Investigator of the Transfer-APASS program at CSU Eastbay, I have witnessed the value of this government funding to enable hard working low-income, first-generation, and immigrant API students accomplish their academic and career goals."