Lawmakers Propose Aid for Colleges Serving Asian Americans
Dervarics, Charles, Black Issues in Higher Education
As Congress ponders the future of federal programs for minority-serving institutions, House lawmakers are proposing a new funding stream for another set of colleges and universities those serving significant numbers of Asian American students.
Much as Congress already funds support for historically Black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and Hispanic-serving institutions, 25 House lawmakers are calling for a new program to help institutions serving Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students. The new bill, H.R. 2616, notes that AAPI students are a diverse population that includes 21 ethnic groups.
Many of these groups face significant poverty, says the legislation from Rep. David Wu, D-Ore. For example, 64 percent of Hmong American families are in poverty, as are 43 percent of Cambodian Americans, 35 percent of Laotian Americans and 25 percent of Vietnamese Americans.
Also, while Asian Americans overall have the highest college-going rates of any group nationwide, certain subgroups have little representation in higher education. This group includes students of Laotian heritage, where only 6 percent have college degrees. Rates are only 6 percent for Cambodian Americans and 5 percent for Hmong Americans, the bill states. By comparison, about 64 percent of Chinese Americans have some college, Wu says.
"Certain segments of the Asian American-Pacific Islander population face numerous barriers to accessing higher education and would benefit from grants and opportunities similar to those that historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, tribally controlled colleges, Alaska Native-serving institutions and Native Hawaiian-serving institutions receive," says the legislation. …