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Sac State receives $2 million federal grant to improve grad rates for AAPI transfer students

Sacramento State's ability to support students such as these dancers, performing in 2019, received a boost through a $2 million grant. (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone)

Sacramento State has received $2 million from the U.S. Department of Education to partner with six regional community colleges to improve graduation rates for Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander transfer students.

News of the grant arrived, appropriately, during National Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI) Week, Sept. 27-Oct. 3.

Sac State is celebrating the 10th anniversary of earning the federal AANAPISI designation and the creation of the Full Circle Project, which provides support for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students.

“The grant expands our efforts for students beyond our campus, to improve the two-year graduation rates for transfer Asian American and Pacific Islander and other high-need students,” said Timothy P. Fong, professor of Ethnic Studies and director of the Full Circle Project, which has been funded by earlier AANAPISI grants.

“We will be working with community colleges that feed students to us. Graduation rates are low among AAPI students, and this is an attempt to address that.”

The most recent Sac State data shows the two-year graduation rate for AAPI transfer students is 38.3%, compared to 45.2% for all transfer students.

Sac State and the Full Circle Project will lead the Sacramento-San Joaquin ANNAPISI Collaboration, also known as the SAC Project. Participants include the Los Rios Community College District’s four campuses -- American River College, Cosumnes River College, Folsom Lake College, and Sacramento City College – as well as Delta College in Stockton and Sierra College in Rocklin.

The SAC Project will develop a transfer student services model focused on increasing academic success and retention as well as helping students complete their undergraduate degree on time.

In addition to its AANAPISI designation, Sac State is a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), with the University receiving approximately $20 million in federal funding over the past decade to support those two programs. However, grants designated for Asian American and Pacific Islander programs, including the Full Circle Project, are limited and account for only about one-third of the total, Fong said.

As a part of AANAPISI Week, he is asking that members of the campus community and friends of the University sign a national letter of support to Congress, asking for more equity and $1 billion in funding for future ANNAPISIs.

Additional events related to Sac State’s AANAPISI Week and the 10th anniversary of the Full Circle Project:

  • Fong will speak during the national Digital Equity AANAPISI Week webinar at 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30. Register for the event.
  • Full Circle Project presents a virtual scholarship workshop focused on critical practices to storytelling at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 1. Register.

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About Dixie Reid

Dixie Reid has been a writer for Sac State since 2012 after decades as a newspaper reporter. A Texas native with the accent to prove it, Dixie is crazy about “dear friends, big dogs, good books, great food, day trips, baking cookies, California sunshine (and fog), and kind people.”

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