Students Awarded ScholarshipsThese seven Sacramento State students are among the 19 who were awarded scholarships from the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund: from left, Pakou Her, Farm Saelee, Maria Angela Sarte, Ivan Tiet, Young Xiong, Puuki Tiwanak-Finkes, and Zang Yang.

The nation’s largest provider of financial support for Asian American and Pacific Islander college students – the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF) – has awarded $52,500 in scholarships to be shared by 19 Sacramento State students.

All but two recipients are low income, and 13 are the first in their family to attend college. Two students will receive a $5,000 award; the rest each will receive a $2,500 scholarship.

“While the focus of Asian American and Pacific Islander enrollment in higher education has mainly relied on a misperception that these students attend only highly selective universities, the majority actually attend lower-resourced public institutions,” says Timothy P. Fong, a professor of ethnic studies at Sacramento State. “In reality, Asian American and Pacific Islander students are quite diverse and have needs similar to other underrepresented racial and ethnic populations.”

APIASF’s Asian American & Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution Scholarship Program recently awarded scholarships to 18 universities, including Sacramento State, that enroll large numbers of traditionally underserved Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Sac State was designated an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI) in 2010, when the University’s enrollment met the U.S. Department of Education’s 10 percent enrollment threshold of Asian American and Pacific Islander students, most of whom are low income.

The Asian American and Pacific Islander community is the fastest-growing ethnic group in California, increasing three times faster than the state’s overall population growth rate. Today, one in seven Californians is Asian American or Pacific Islander.

The state’s demographic makeup is reflected at Sacramento State, where Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders make up 21 percent of the student population. More than half are low income, and more than one-third are the first member of their family to attend college.

AANAPISIs received official Minority Serving Institution (MSI) designation by Congress in 2007 as a part of the College Cost Reduction and Access Act. AANAPISIs are eligible to apply for federal grants to support efforts to improve academic programs, institutional management, and fiscal stability. Sacramento State has received more than $2 million in AANAPISI funding. – Dixie Reid