What are AANAPISIs?
The AANAPISI initiative, housed in the U.S. Department of Education, is a competitive grant that provides federal funding for colleges and universities. Under Title III, Section 320 and 371 of the Higher Education Act (HEA), colleges and universities, excluding for-profit institutions, are able to receive the AANAPISI grant under two primary criteria: (1) if 10% of the undergraduate student enrollment identifies as Asian American and Pacific Islander and (2) if the institution meets the Section 312(b) basic eligibility criteria of Title III and V programs. To meet the Section 312(b) basic eligibility requirements, the college or university must:
- be an institution of higher education (IHE), as defined in section 101 of the HEA;
- have lower than average educational and general (E&G) expenditures per full-time equivalent (FTE) undergraduate student compared to institutions that offer similar instruction;
- have a requisite enrollment of needy students;
- be legally authorized within its respective state to award bachelor’s degrees; be a community college; or be the College of the Marshall Islands, the College of Micronesia/Federated States of Micronesia, or Palau Community College;
- be accredited or making progress toward accreditation by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association recognized by the Secretary of Education (the Secretary); and
- be located in one of the 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or the freely associated states (Congressional Research Service, 2014a, p. 2).
These requirements are often summarized as having a 10% AAPI undergraduate student population, and a significant proportion of students who are from low social-economic backgrounds (e.g. 50% of students are on eligible to receive Pell grants).
Since 2007, a total of 190 institutions have been identified as eligible to become AANAPISIs. Based on data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, the majority of these degree-granting institutions are overwhelming located in the Western Region, followed by the Eastern Region, and then Pacific Region (NCES, 2013). Of those colleges and universities, 35 have been awarded funding and developed AANAPISI programs on their campuses. These funded AANAPISIs follow a similar geographic pattern to those that are eligible, where the majority of the funded institutions are also located in the Western Region, while schools in the Pacific Region and Eastern Region both have the second largest cohort, of six institutions. It should be noted that schools in the Eastern Region recently doubled in number, with the announcement of the FY 2016 AANAPISI grantee cycle, while institutions in the Pacific Region remain stable at six. Table 1 details the distribution of institutions eligible for AANAPISI designation as well as those that are funded.
With regards to institutional type and sector, 50% of eligible institutions are public two-year institutions, while 26% are public four-year schools. Private not-for-profit schools make up 21% of those that are eligible for AANAPISI funding. Funded AANAPISIs are comprised of only public two-year and public four-year institutions. Of these two types, 14 are public four-year AANAPISIs, while 21 are public two-year institutions. Chart 1 displays the distribution of eligible and funded AANAPISIs by institutional type and sector.
Characteristics of AANAPISIs
As previously noted, the primary requirement to become an AANAPISI is maintain an enrollment where 10% of the institution’s undergraduate students identify as AAPI. Although the 10% AAPI student population requirement is a relatively low threshold, eligible and funded AANAPISIs tend to enroll proportions of AAPI students that are beyond 10%. In fact, 39% of AANAPISIs maintain a student population of over 20%, while that figure jumps up to 57% for funded AANAPISIs, as demographically, AAPIs in the United States are heavily concentrated in metropolitan and coastal regions. Indeed, eligible and funded AANAPISIs that are located in these areas often have a larger percentage of AAPI students enrolled.
AANAPISIs also educate a large proportion of all AAPI undergraduates in the United States. In Fall 2017, 1,087,906 AAPI undergraduates were enrolled at 2-year and 4-year institutions across the county. Eligible and funded AANAPISIs comprise of only 4.4% of all 4,298 colleges and universities in the United States, yet they enroll 37.9% of all AAPI undergraduates, or 412,639 students, in the nation. In other words, one third of all current AAPI college students are attending one of the 190 eligible AANAPISIs.
Additionally, eligible and funded AANAPISIs have played an increasing role in conferring degrees for AAPI students. Of all associate’s degrees that were conferred to AAPI college students across the country in 2013, 43.5% of those degrees were conferred at eligible or funded AANAPISIs. Today, that figure has increased to 47.5%. Nearly half of the nation’s associate’s degrees for AAPIs were conferred at an eligible or funded AANAPISI. Similarly, in 2013, and at four-year institutions, 28.8% of all baccalaureate degrees conferred for AAPIs were at eligible or funded AANAPISIs. That figured has increased in 2018 to 29.4%. Here, nearly 1/3 of all BA/BS degrees for AAPIs were conferred at an eligible or funded AANAPISI. In other words, these 190 eligible or funded AANAPISIs are of critical importance for AAPI college students, as they are enrolling and graduating large proportions of AAPIs throughout the United States.