October 2, 2020

Washington, DC—The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) joined with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) to applaud the release of a joint policy brief in collaboration with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) researchers from around the country calling for a recommitment to the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) Program. This week marks the 13th anniversary of the program which funds culturally sensitive academic initiatives for AAPI students at colleges and universities all over America.

NCAPA issued the following statement: “Thirteen years ago, the AANAPISI program was created, which marked an important turning point for AAPIs in higher education. The value of focused programming that creates an environment where students feel included or seen on their campus is immeasurable. However, with the release of this policy brief, it is clear that over a decade later, it is time for elected leaders and leaders of these institutions to modernize their commitment to this program and our students.

“We thank Congresswoman Judy Chu and the members of CAPAC for introducing H.Res. 1157, which expresses support for the recognition of September 28, 2020, to October 2, 2020, as Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions Week. We are grateful to the researchers who created this policy brief; and we are humbled by the countless administrators, staff, and faculty who continue to dedicate their careers to uplifting and guiding our students.”

Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, Rep. Judy Chu stated, “I want to commend the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans and AAPI researchers across the country who helped to create this important policy brief that highlights the importance of the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) program. Earlier this week, I am proud to have introduced a congressional resolution to recognize AANAPISI Week and to celebrate the incredible contributions these institutions make to our country. Like other Minority Serving Institutions (MSI), AANAPISIs help to ensure that higher education is accessible to all Americans. In fact, AANAPISIs enroll nearly half of all AAPI undergraduate students nationwide and have enabled many low-income and first generation AAPI students to succeed. As our community continues to grow over the next decade, we must continue to support and strengthen this critical program and ensure that AAPI students have the resources they need to thrive.”

Dr. Mike Hoa Nguyen, Assistant Professor of Higher Education at the University of Denver and lead researcher on the policy brief added, “Given their integral role in educating a large proportion of AAPI students, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions are the backbone of the U.S. postsecondary education. And as more colleges and universities become AANAPISIs, in this next decade, it is incumbent upon policymakers, practitioners, and researchers to recommit their efforts to strengthen this critical program for the next generation of AAPI students.”

Tavae Samuelu, Executive Director of Empowering Pacific Islander Communities said, “The success of AANAPISIs affirms what we’ve always known to be true, that our cultures are an asset that propel students forward and that having curriculum, classrooms, and campuses that reflect Pacific Islanders demonstrate that they belong in higher education.”

“The AANAPISI program is critical to the educational success of Southeast Asian American (SEAA) students,” said Katrina Dizon Mariategue, Acting 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, many SEAA young people have struggled to access, afford, and complete higher education. AANAPISIs help SEAA students succeed by providing them with culturally responsive resources and support to navigate college and a community to strengthen their SEAA identities.”

OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates Director Thu Nguyen, said, “Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs) are crucial for our communities. They provide services that improve retention, graduation rates, and language access for AAPI students, which translate to essential skills allowing for students to pursue their interests and overcome bamboo and glass ceilings alike. We must ensure support is secured for all MSIs, especially AANAPISIs.”


Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 37 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.