Asian/Pacific Islander Students Guide

If one takes the Asia-Pacific region, we shall see that it makes up half of the worlds population, which represents a complex mixture of socio-cultural factors that are also reflected in the educational sector. It is also the largest regional source of international students. Also known as the API students, the Asian American and Pacific Islanders belong to significant segments of U.S. colleges. Unfortunately, this ethnic ground is not often recognized in terms of academic research or even belonging to the underserved minority.

According to statistics, the enrollment of Asian American and Pacific Islander students has increased by 29% since 2000, yet the latest data from the 2017-2018 academic school year shows a decrease by 1,000. Moreover, it should be noted that these students still represent the minority across most educational sectors. Speaking of public four-year colleges, the AAPI college students only make up about 8%. As for 2-year colleges, this ethnic group is even smaller at 6%. The largest ethnic group that have earned their Bachelor's degree belongs to Chinese Americans (50%) and Japanese Americans (52%). The minority is represented by Laotian (29%), Cambodian (33%), and Hmong (31%). Still, it should be said that the presence of financial burdens and lack of proper support are bound to even a further decrease of college graduates. 

While the majority of American colleges do not focus on either ethnicity these days due to diversity rules and moral principles, the National Center for Education Statistics shows that in the 2016-17 academic year, 113 degree-granting institutions served precisely Asian American and Native American Pacific Islanders. Although this statistical data does not provide any detail regarding graduation, it is safe to say that AAPI students face certain challenges and require additional financial help to get enrolled and become a part of the workplace. It is also a reason why the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund has been created to provide essential support. 

Challenges that Asian Pacific American Student Face

Often approached as the "model minority" instead of being seen as the "minority group", Asian Americans in higher education face certain problems that are not highlighted at all. Their academic problems or special needs are often ignored because their nativity and social status are always within most social groups. However, all of these issues are still present: 

  • Difficulties in academics and enrollment issues.
  • Personal and social matters. 
  • Racial discrimination. 
  • Lack of communication. 
  • College professors bias in terms of Asian students. 
  • No special cultural counseling. 
  • No Asian support groups and having to adjust to existing social groups. 
  • Financial burdens and underprivileged family origins. 

Most importantly, emotional troubles and challenges of being Asian American or Pacific Islanders are not documented in statistical information, which forces AAPI students to seek help elsewhere by turning to additional employment or trying to enter various challenging social groups. 

15 Scholarships for Asian/Pacific Islander Students

Even if you did not know about Asian Pacific Islander scholarships, you should check them out and explore various options that will help you to achieve academic excellence and focus on your life and family. 

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  • Against The Grain Groundbreaker Leadership Scholarship. This special award is aimed at AAPI students who show academic excellence, strong leadership skills, and passion for their course. If you want to win $1,500 financial assistance, you should record a video presentation and have at least a 3.5 GPA. Deadline May 2021. 
  • CANFIT Physical Education & Culinary Arts. If you belong to the state of California and can prove your ethnicity, you should apply for financial help. If your major deals with community, adolescents, nutrition, or sports, you must send your application for $5,000. The applicant entry requirements involve a 2.5 GPA and at least 12-15 graduate credits. Deadline: February 2021. 
  • The Paul & Daisy Soros Scholarship for New Americans. It is mostly meant as a scholarship for Asians grants up to $25,000. You must be a new American undergraduate senior or early graduate-level course student. To qualify, you must be an immigrant or a child of an immigrant. If you are above thirty years old, you cannot apply. Deadline: November 2021. 
  • GRCF Miller Johnson West Michigan Diversity Law School Award. If you pursue a law degree, belong to API students, and have a financial need, you can win $5,000. You must be a resident of the state of Michigan. Deadline: April 2021
  • Kahdine Ann DaCosta for Excellence in Leadership. Even though it is not an Asian Pacific Islander scholarship per see, it is aimed at diversity students who show strong leadership skills and are ready to dedicate their time and life to the local community. This $1,000 award requires at least 2 years of community service or any other activity. Deadline: March 2021. 
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Award. Based on the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, this scholarship is aimed at minority students that show cooperation, sympathy, care for others, and an improvement of the community. You must write an essay and explain how you try to change the world and how Dr. King has influenced you. An award of $1,000 is given to those who prove financial need only. Deadline: June 1st, 2021. 
  • Matt Fong Asian Americans in the Public Finance Sector. If you would like to study Political Science, Business Administration or Management, you can win $2,500. You must have a 3.0 GPA and 50% of Asian descent. Deadline: April 2021. 
  • Philippine International Aid U.S. Assistance Fellowship. It is financial aid (from $500 to $2,000) for Asian students of Filipino heritage. You can describe your situation and share your story in the United States to apply. At least 25% of Filipino origin is required. The Philipino Fellowships’ deadline: February 2021. 
  • Shui Kuen & Allen Chin Scholarship. You can win $1,000 Asian American scholarships if you have an interest in community advocacy and social justice. State your essay and describe a challenging situation. If you have a financial need as a graduate student, make sure to mention it. Deadline: February 2021. 
  • APIA Scholars General Scholarship Program. If you come from a low-income Asian / Pacific Islander minority student background, you should apply for financial help. You can receive up to $2,500 annually or even $20,000 as a multi-year scholarship. Speaking of the entry requirements, you must have a strong emphasis on your local community work and have a financial need. Deadline: January 10, 2021. 
  • Asian Pacific Fund. It offers various financial aid that comes from private donors. Since we talk about the Asian Pacific Islander scholarship fund, it is the most important requirement. Share your career goals, financial state, and community work to become eligible. The selection process happens without a deadline because you must describe your situation first of all. 
  • Asian American Scholarship. This program recognizes Benigno and Corazon Aquino students. It helps both seniors and junior level students. You can win up to $15,000 to cover your academic costs and boarding. You must show at least a GPA of 3.0 and write an essay that speaks of your commitment to the Asian-American community.
  • Ching Suei Su Scholarship. If you are majoring in Chinese studies, Asian American subjects, Japanese language, or Korean literature, you can apply for $2,000. It must be noted that Asian ethnic heritage is not required, yet if you belong to the Asian community, you can receive Asian Pacific Islander scholarship assistance in terms of service and the list of helpful resources. 
  • Asian American Journalists Association Award. It lets you win from $1,000 to $5,000 if you are an Asian American representative in the media and can write an essay based on this subject. The only requirement is your academic excellence and dedication to honesty and care for the community. 
  • The Asian Pacific American Librarians Association. One of the most interesting scholarships for Pacific Islanders of $1,000 value. If you show college financial aid and require additional tuition or emotional help, you can apply for this scholarship. Deadline: May 2021. 

Of course, you can always apply for any diversity or minority college scholarship that is not precisely AAPI-related. Make sure to prepare your financial needs and academic achievement before you apply. 

Useful Resources for API Students 

  • Asian and Pacific Islander Scholarship Fund. This foundation is not only based on scholarships and financial help but also an advocacy community. 
  • Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institute. If you need a specific textbook material or require books for your academic course, AANAPISI will help you cover tuition costs individually. 
  • Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs. Join fellow Asian Americans for any purpose as you learn and want to stay within your socio-cultural community. If you want to share your experience, make sure to join one of the campaigns. 
  • National Asian/Pacific Islander Council. It is an extensive network for those cases when you need legal help or faced racial discrimination in terms of college enrollment or employment refusal. It also includes educational research work. 
  • Asian Pacific Islander Special Interests Group. It is a great community of college students. You can learn more about a specific scholarship for Pacific Islanders’ help and share your local resources. 
  • Asian Nation. It is your resource for today's Asian American community. Anything from political, educational to cultural, and social issues, you will find it here. 
  • Asiance Magazine. A special community that helps to connect Asian American women with the rest of the world. It has a support group and gender-specific scholarship opportunities.  

Let your API Voice Be Heard

Regardless if you require financial help or need someone to talk to, the help is out there. As an Asian American college student, you must talk to your fellow API students and counselors to create support groups and let others find out about the Asian and Pacific Islander scholarship options. Do not sit back and remain ignored, seek your options, speak out, and let your concerns be heard!

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