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AANAPISI Program FY 2016 Project Abstracts


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Fifteen programs were awarded Part A and Part F grants in fiscal year 2016, seven programs in California, three programs in Massachusetts, two programs in Minnesota, and single programs in the states of New York, Washington, and Massachusetts.

Century College, MN | San Francisco State University, CA | American River College, CA | Bunker Hill Community College, MA | Sacramento State, CA | University of California Irvine, CA | University of Massachusetts Boston, MA | University of Nevada, NV | University of Minnesota, MN | California State University East Bay, CA | Hunter College, NY | Laney College, CA | Middlesex Community College, MA | Mt. San Antonio College, CA | Pierce College, WA


Asian American and Native American
Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions Program, Part A
FY 2016 Project Abstract

Century College, Minneapolis, MN

Century College, a public community and technical college serving the East Metro of Minneapolis – St. Paul, Minnesota, will implement a five-year project to improve the Career and Technical Education (CTE) enrollment, retention, and graduation rates of Asian, Pacific Islander, and other disadvantaged students. The college serves large populations of students from Southeast Asian refugee communities.

The project will implement three activities to realize its goals:

Activity One:  CTE Program and Curriculum Development – CTE programs that support career pathways into high-demand careers for target population students will be further developed. Researchers will inventory and evaluate CTE-related career pathways in the East Metro. CTE faculty will receive training in culturally-relevant pedagogy and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) strategies to better engage students in learning.

Activity Two:  Outreach to Asian, Pacific Islander, other immigrant/refugee, and low-income communities will build new partnerships to serve students while encouraging younger students’ interest in higher education. Collaborations with refugee-serving community based and workforce organizations will help build support networks around students.

Activity Three:  Student support in CTE programs – Supplemental education tutoring, career navigation, financial literacy education, and augmented ESOL learning will lead to greater enrollment, retention and graduation rates.

Funding:  $299,942
Century College AANAPISI Application May 2015 (84.031L – Part A)


Asian American and Native American
Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions Program – Part F
FY 2016 Project Abstracts

San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California

Founded in1899 as a teachers college, San Francisco State University (SFSU) remains united as a community of learners with passion for academic excellence, intellectual discovery, creative and critical inquiry and educational equity. SFSU is part of the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system and awards bachelor's degrees in 126 areas, master's degrees in 103, and a doctorate in educational leadership. SFSU is an important institution in the region and a key contributor to the education of California’s Asian American and Pacific Islander (APIA) population, as well as students who are high-need, low-income and underrepresented in higher education. The College of Ethnic Studies, established in 1969, plays a crucial role in SFSU history and legacy of promoting social justice and equity. Four established departments and one program—Asian American Studies, Africana Studies, Latina/Latino Studies, American Indian Studies and Race and Resistance Studies—offer more than 175 courses each semester to meet the needs of 6,000 students. The College remains the only autonomous college of its kind in the nation.

SFSU serves a large number and high percent of high-need AANAPI and low-income students. More than one-third of students (34 percent - 40 percent) belong to AANAPI demographic groups. Significant numbers of students fall into high-need student demographic groups including students from low-income families (47 percent) of students receive Federal Pell grant aid and first-generation students (36 percent). Furthermore, a majority of students arrive at SFSU academically underprepared for college. The top 14 feeder high schools for SFSU students include four of California’s lowest performing high schools and 50 percent of all first-year students enter needing remediation in math and/or English.

Purpose and Overview: The goal of ASPIRE is to improve and expand SFSU capacity to serve high-need Asian American and Native American Pacific Islanders (AANAPI) and low-income degree-seeking undergraduate students, improve the learning environment, and strengthen academic outcomes.  The project will implement three comprehensive and complementary activities: broad dissemination of information and targeted support to high-need Asian American Pacific Islanders (APIAs); learning communities with culturally-relevant and community-responsive practices, linked courses, and peer mentors; and faculty development and faculty learning communities. Measurable objectives include increasing services to students with learning, cognitive and psychological disabilities; increasing student engagement and non- cognitive skill development; decreasing academic probation; increasing credits earned and fall- to-fall persistence; and increasing graduation rates.

Absolute and Competitive Preference Priority: The proposal responds to the Absolute Priority and the Competitive Preference Priority: Applications supported by evidence of effectiveness that meets the conditions set out in the definition of moderate evidence of effectiveness. Bettinger, E. P., & Baker, R. (2011). The effects of student coaching in college: An evaluation of a randomized experiment in student mentoring (Working Paper No. 16881). Retrieved from http://www.nber.org/papers/w16881.


American River College, Sacramento, California

Institutional Background:  American River College (ARC) is a State-funded two-year community college, part of the Los Rios Community College District, the second largest community college district in California. ARC is one of the largest community colleges in California, and the nation. The College currently serves over 30,000 students (full-time and part- time) from the diverse six-county greater Sacramento region. Looked upon as a leader in innovative programs and services, ARC transfers many students to University of California- Davis and California State University-Sacramento. ARC serves an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander (AANAPI) population equaling 12.5 percent of the student population.

Project Title: Increasing Graduation and Transfer for AANAPI populations through Success Coaching and Developmental Acceleration.

Summary of Outcome Objectives: (1) Increase the number of AANAPI students retained each year; (2) Increase the number of AANAPI students who successfully complete developmental courses and progress to college-level; (3) Increase the number of AANAPI students who successfully complete college-level gateway courses and progress to graduation or transfer; (4) Increase the number of AANAPI students who persist and succeed to graduation and/or transfer;

(5) Increase the AANAPI graduation rate and number of graduates; (6) Increase the number of AANAPI transfers.

Implementation Strategies: ARC will use the proposed AANAPISI grant to coordinate and demonstrate (1) a success coach model for AANAPI students; and (2) accelerate remedial coursework for AANAPI and other disadvantaged students.

This AANAPISI project addresses Competitive Preference Priority Number Two through replication of one experimental and one quasi-experimental study meeting the What Works Clearinghouse standard for “moderate evidence of effectiveness” without reservations. (1) Bettinger and Baker (2011) demonstrates a statistically significant increase in retention at 12 months through the use of student success coaches. (2) The project also provides intensive faculty training and developmental curriculum re-design via the California Acceleration Project (CAP). Using statistical methods to control for any pre-existing differences in student characteristics, a quasi-experimental evaluation of the CAP found significantly higher completion rates among students in accelerated remediation.

Research Study Citations:  Bettinger, E.P., Baker, R. (2011). The Effects of Student Coaching in College: An Evaluation of a Randomized Experiment in Student Mentoring. Retrieved from https://ed.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/bettinger_baker_030711.pdf. Hayward, C. & Willett, T. (2014). Curricular Redesign and Gatekeeper Completion: A Multi-College Evaluation of the California Acceleration Project. Retrieved from:  http://cap.3csn.org/files/2014/04/RP-Evaluation-CAP.pdf.


Bunker Hill Community College, Boston, Massachusetts

With this application to the AANAPISI Part F program, Bunker Hill Community College proposes a far-reaching project - Breaking the Cycle: A Framework for Success – designed to impact the College’s large and growing population of Asian-American and low-income English language learners. The project will deliver significant positive outcomes on enrollment, achievement, retention and completion rates through comprehensive alignment and acceleration of the English as a Second Language (ESL) curriculum, personalized support using the College’s effective Success Coaching model, and the substantive infusion of culturally enriched pedagogy across key courses in the general education curriculum.

Located in the heart of the urban communities of Boston and Chelsea, BHCC is mission-driven to serve a high-need population, and provide them with a gateway to educational and economic uplift. Boston is home to a fast-growing Asian American population. Half of these students are foreign born, and a third of them report they do not speak English well. Many of these students who arrive at the College are placed in a multilevel ESL sequence. However, only a fourth of them complete preparatory study, and along the way nearly forty percent are not retained from year-to-year, and only seven percent graduate within three years.

BHCC’s project entails a multipronged approach, rooted in constructivist learning theory, to improve the learning environment and academic outcomes for Asian American and low income students by: 1) reforming the assessment-placement process and re-engineering the ESL program to integrate coursework and accelerate progress through a learning communities structure with embedded lab supports; 2) providing targeted wraparound support through a robust coaching model with improved technological tools; and 3) expanding a global learning initiative by infusing highly-enrolled general education courses with culturally relevant content and pedagogical practice across the curriculum that enhances students’ sense of identity, community, ethics, and perspectives.

The reform of the ESL curriculum, beginning with assessment and placement, will not only increase access, but propel students beyond the most critical barrier to their success: college- level English. Simultaneously, the provision of proactive, targeted Success Coaching - based on a proven model in which specially trained coaches provide wraparound personal, career and academic support (Bettinger and Baker 2011, http://www.nber.org/papers/w16881.pdf) - will assist students in tackling related academic and non-academic concerns that too often lead to failure or attrition. Finally, the development of local-global learning across the core will help students make the connections they need to see their way to graduation.

By investing in these critical components of the student experience, BHCC will improve the learning environment from the point of enrollment to completion for the target group of Asian- American and low-income English language learners: a three percent increase in enrollment of Asian-American students, a 20 percent increase in ESL students prepared for college-level English; a 19 percent increase in successful completion of college-level English, a 13 percent increase in year-to-year retention, and a 5 percent increase in graduation within three years.


Sacramento State, Sacramento, California

The Full Circle Project: College to Career Pathways (FCP/C2C) aims to increase graduation rates for low-income and first-generation Asian American and Pacific Islander and other high- need students transferring from community college to Sacramento State. It is built on a solid cohort-based learning community and other high-impact education practices that have worked to retain and graduate underrepresented and low-income students.

FCP/C2C will double the Educational Opportunity Program Transfer Learning Community from four sections to eight sections, will increase the number of transfer students served to 200 annually, and will expand the learning community from just one-semester to a two-semester program. In addition, the transfer learning community will integrate a new Career to College certificate program into the curriculum. Finally, FCP/C2C will develop student leaders and peer mentors through the Career Ambassador Program. This comprehensive project is designed to build student momentum around strategic steps that can be implemented and assessed with achievable outcomes and will make a difference for participants in the program. FCP/C2C is closely aligned with Sacramento State’s Graduation Initiative, our commitment to improve graduation rates and reduce the achievement gap between various racial and ethnic groups.

FCP/C2C is specifically designed to support high–need students and improve academic outcomes and learning environments (Absolute Priority). The Educational Opportunity Program Transfer Learning Community will help students complete the 9 units of upper division General Education including the Writing Intensive required by Sacramento State by the end of his or her junior year. The two-semester learning community will also include co-curricular courses in both the fall and spring semesters that focus on skill building, community building, “difference- education intervention” panels, and reflective writing assignments. These practices are supported by research that meets the definition of “moderate evidence of effectiveness” by the What Works Clearinghouse (Competitive Priority Preference 2).

FCP/C2C seeks to create a new campus environment that will lead APIA and other high need transfer students both during and beyond their first year at Sacramento State by helping them transition and persist through to graduation. We expect a solid vanguard of students, faculty, staff, and administrators will create an infrastructure that will benefit both students and employers in the future.  FCP/C2C will also serve as a model program for our campus and other universities across the nation.

Stephens, N. M., Hamedani, M. G., & Destin, M. (2014). Closing the social-class achievement gap:  A difference-education intervention improves first-generation students’ academic performance and all students’ college transition. Psychological Science, 25 (4), 943–953. www.psychology.northwestern.edu/documents/destin-achievement.pdf


University of California Irvine, Irvine, California

Title:  Diverse Education Community and Doctoral Experience (DECADE): Partnership in Leadership for Undergraduate Success (PLUS)

Purpose: The current proposal is designed to address the Asian American Native American Pacific- Islander (AANAPISI) Program Absolute Priority: Supporting High-Need Students. The proposed DECADE PLUS program is consistent with the goals of improving academic outcomes and learning environments of high needs undergraduate students in their college education. DECADE PLUS programming is based on evidence-based strategies that are shown to have significant effectiveness in the target populations, which addresses the competitive priority two. Through graduate student leadership coaching, undergraduate near peer mentoring, and individual and group activities, the program will aim to establish and standardize an affirming climate for AANAPISI and low income students, focusing on building strengths and professional confidence. The program is designed to strengthen integration of incoming Chancellors Excellence Scholars into the University of California, Irvine (UCI) community and to enhance a sense of belonging. Chancellors Excellence Scholars are chosen by UCI for financial support as academically meritorious but personally disadvantaged. All are first generation college students and the large majority are from low income backgrounds and underperforming high schools. Scholars must obtain a cumulative freshman grade point average (GPA) of two point five in order to retain their scholarship as sophomores. Historical data show that only 50-60 percent achieves this goal. To achieve greater professional confidence and academic success, graduate student leadership coaches and undergraduate peer mentors will guide program participants in balancing personal, academic and social interests, in order to sustain their priorities and meet their goals. An emphasis on exploration and discovery will allow undergraduate students with limited exposure to higher education the opportunity to find a pathway that is right for them and will provide the greatest opportunities for success. The proposed four year program is an expansion of a UCI pilot program that has shown success in helping first year students to improve their GPA and retain their scholarships for a second year. The DECADE PLUS program has three goals that will be achieved through an integrative set of objectives, the outcomes of which will be evaluated through mixed methods including analysis of quantitative and qualitative data:

Goal 1: Integration into campus life and second year retention.

Goal 2: Enhanced professional and leadership development of the DECADE PLUS undergraduate participants.

Goal 3: Prepare DECADE PLUS graduate leadership coaches for future faculty careers.


University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts

Established in 1964 to provide access to higher education for the people of Boston, the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB) is an urban public research university rooted within a metropolitan area that includes some of the oldest and largest Vietnamese, Chinese, and Khmer American communities in the U.S. A historic commuter university, UMB enrolls high-need Asian American students from local, low-income immigrant families and under-resourced communities who are typically at risk for dropping out or prolonged degree completion.

As a funded AANAPISI research university since 2010, UMB has developed a range of programs to increase college access, retention, and graduation for its low-income and/or first- generation Asian American students and to expand research on Asian American educational equity. These are beginning to have positive impact, but the number of Asian American students enrolled at UMB is still modest and the percent graduating is well below that for these students at other four-year public universities. This project has three goals:  (1) to increase the academic performance, retention, persistence, and graduation rates as well as sense of belonging of high- need, low-income, first-generation Asian American students; (2) to enhance the learning environment at UMB; and (3) to increase knowledge and use of effective practices, pedagogies, and curricula that advance high-need Asian American student degree and career attainment. We propose to harness the power of digital storytelling in Asian American Studies and develop innovative models of faculty/alumni engagement and high-impact student support services, including the intervention described in “Closing the social-class achievement gap: A difference-education intervention improves first-generation students’ academic performance and all students’ college transition.”  (http://www.psychology.northwestern.edu/documents/destin-achievement.pdf) – thus addressing Competitive Priority Two.


University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) is a public, metropolitan university that serves as the primary provider of bachelors-, masters-, and doctoral-level courses for the residents of Clark County, Nevada. More than 2,500 of UNLV’s Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM) undergraduates are Asian American or Native American Pacific Islanders (AANAPI), while more than 4,300 STEM undergraduates are disadvantaged (DA)—i.e., low-income (LI) and/or first-generation college (FG)—students with a need for academic support (NFAS) in order to succeed in post-secondary education. On various academic-performance indicators (year-to-year persistence, cumulative GPA, graduation, and post baccalaureate enrollment), UNLV’s DA-NFAS STEM students (31percent of whom are AANAPI) are far outstripped by their more advantaged classmates.

Annually, from 2016-2021, the UNLV AANAPISI STEM Project (“the project”) will serve 180 of the institution’s DA-NFAS STEM undergraduates, with no less than 50percent of project participants being AANAPI students. Moreover, the project will respond directly to the FY 2016 AANAPISI grant competition’s Absolute Priority, “to support high-need students and improve their academic outcomes,” by serving only students who are “at risk of educational failure or otherwise in need of special assistance and support” and ensuring most (i.e., at least 67percent) project participants are LI.  With the full support of the UNLV administration and other institutional units, the project will provide participants with an array of services, including:

  • Academic tutoring;
  • Advising and counseling (i.e., academic, undergraduate financial-aid, career, and so on), delivered in accordance with Bettinger and Baker’s (2011) academic-coaching

model, which has demonstrated “moderate evidence of effectiveness” (cf., FY2016 AANAPISI grant competition’s Competitive Preference Priority #2 (CPP2));

  • Support for undergraduate research;
  • Access to textbook and academic-productivity-device lending library;
  • Difference-education interventions, as described in Stephens, et. al. (2014), which have also demonstrated “moderate evidence of effectiveness” (cf., CPP2); and
  • Frequent, ongoing academic-progress monitoring.

These services will help participants overcome barriers that would otherwise impede their academic progress and lead them to stopout or dropout from college, as well as earn cumulative GPAs that are high enough to qualify them for admission to upper-level undergraduate programs and to post baccalaureate studies. Moreover, at rates substantially higher than those of DA-NFAS STEM students who receive no assistance from the project, participants will:

  • Persist from year to year in their respective degree programs;
  • Graduate from the institution in five and six-year time frames; and
  • Enroll in post baccalaureate studies.

Bettinger, E. P., & Baker, R. (2011). The effects of student coaching in college: An evaluation of a randomized experiment in student mentoring. https://cepa.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/bettinger_baker_030711.pdf.

Stephens, N., Hamedani, M., & Destin, M. (2014). Closing the social-class achievement gap: a difference-education intervention improves first-generation students’ academic performance and all students’ college transition. Psychological Science, 1-11.


University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minnesota

The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (UMTC) is a four-year, public research, land-grant state institution. Founded in 1869, it is the oldest and largest public university in the state of Minnesota. As one of few urban, research, land-grant institutions, it is located in the metropolitan area of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. UMTC is home to the seventh largest campus student body in the United States and, by enrollment, is the second largest higher education institution in the Midwest. It serves 50,678 students across 17 colleges and schools. Currently, 67.9 percent of the students come from Minnesota, with 49.4 percent (22,820) from the Twin Cities metro area. Of its 30,511 undergraduate student body, students of color made up 20.4 percent (6,209) of the population. Asian American and Pacific Islander students were the largest student of color group, at 10.9 percent (3,332); followed by 9.3 percent (2,834) international students; 4.9 percent (1,506) African American students; 3.3 percent (1,004) Chicano/Latino students; and 1.2 percent (367) American Indian students. UMTC has 2,589 fulltime faculty, and a student to faculty ratio of 17:1.


The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities Asian American College Excellence (AACE) Project aims to provide services to improve the academic experiences and outcomes of Asian American Native American Pacific Islander (AANAPI) students at the UMTC. The three goals of the proposed five-year project include: (1) To provide culturally relevant resources for AANAPI academic achievement; (2) To increase culturally relevant academic programming for AANAPI students; and (3) To enhance postsecondary success pathways of AANAPI students. Outcomes from the project include increased knowledge of AANAPI issues, increased access to culturally relevant resources, increased social and academic integration, and increased knowledge of career pathways. The proposed AACE Project reflects the current research and effective practices knowledge base, and will significantly strengthen the UMTC and advance the academic success of its predominantly low-income, first-generation, Southeast Asian American students.

Project services address the competitive priority by meeting conditions of “moderate evidence of effectiveness” (http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/singlestudyreview.aspx?sid=20012; doi: 10.1177/0956797613518349).

Stephens, N. M., Hamedani, M. G., & Destin, M. (2014). Closing the social-class achievement gap:  A difference-education intervention improves first-generation students’ academic performance and all students’ college transition. Psychological Science, 25(4), 943–953.


California State University East Bay, Hayward, California

The Transfer Asian Pacific American Student Success (TAPASS) program is designed to create a pipeline for the success of Asian Pacific American students who transfer from local community colleges to CSUEB. CSUEB is applying under competitive preference priority 2, moderate evidence of effectiveness. The proposed intervention is rooted in research that has documented the effectiveness of Summer Bridge programs (Cabrera et al 2013; https://works.bepress.com/nolan_l_cabrera/20/) and the role first-year seminars (Schnell & Doetkott, 2003; http://csr.sagepub.com/content/4/4/377.short) on greater retention, learning and skill development, particularly for Asian American students.

CSUEB’s primary service area is the San Francisco Bay Area’s East Bay region and is the only four-year Asian American and Native Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI) in our region. Asian and/or Pacific Islanders make up 24 percent of East Bay residents. While Asian American and Native Pacific Islander (AANAPI) students are the second largest racial/ethnic group at CSUEB (at 23 percent), several AANAPI subgroups are under-served given the representation of AANAPI immigrant and refugee sub-groups in our region, including Hayward (Samoans, Fijians, Tongans), Fremont (the largest population of Afghan Americans in the United States), and Oakland (Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders). The TAPASS program will prioritize first-generation college students from under-represented AANAPI subgroups at CSUEB, particularly Pacific Islander, Southeast Asian, and Central/West Asian transfer students. We will partner with the 14 local AANAPISI community colleges to encourage students from under-served groups to transfer to CSUEB and participate in TAPASS. We will also collaborate with East Bay AANAPI community organizations and churches to promote college-going awareness and practices among youth and their families.

TAPASS will serve yearly cohorts of 100 students (400 total over the grant period) through the Pipeline and Service Cohort model. Incoming transfer students will participate in a summer bridge program and orientation that includes academic advising and planning, and a two-day intensive writing workshop focused on writing strategies, incorporating detailed individualized feedback, a mock writing exam, and an opportunity to fulfill their University Writing Skills Requirement (UWSR). Pipe-line Cohort students will join a yearlong learning community that connects three TAPASS-sponsored upper-division, API-themed General Education courses together. Those who do not fulfill the UWSR in the summer will also take an English 3000 course designed to emphasize culturally relevant writing assignments. Completion of the USWR is a major bottleneck at the university with the majority of transfer students in need. All TAPASS students will receive intensive college and career advising, peer mentoring, peer tutoring for major courses, and access to campus resources, computer technology and support, career readiness workshops, internship placement, career mentoring, and will create their own e-portfolio. TAPASS will also strengthen CSUEB faculty capacity through an in-service training program to effectively support AANAPI students in their academic and career goals.

The program will seek to achieve a set of measurable outcomes for student enrollment, retention, and graduation that are aligned with the AANAPISI program’s Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) measures, as well as outcomes related to building faculty capacity to serve AANAPI students. A quasi-experimental study will compare outcomes for students in the Pipeline Cohort, Service Cohort, and a Comparison Cohort of AANAPI transfer students. Overall we will use this program and its evaluation to develop a best practices model for recruiting students from under-served, under-represented AANAPI groups, and promoting their success in college and careers.


Hunter College, New York, New York

Institution’s Distinguishing Features:

Founded in 1870, Hunter College is one of 11 four-year senior colleges of The City University of New York (CUNY), one of the nation’s largest and oldest public universities. Hunter College and the 24 colleges of the CUNY system have a have a long tradition of expanding opportunities for women and minority students in New York City through a rigorous yet accessible education.

In Fall 2015, more than 23,000 undergraduate and graduate students attended Hunter and enrolled in more than 170 areas of study. With over 53,000 Asian and Pacific Islander (API) students throughout the CUNY system (22 percent of total enrollment) and 4,810 American Pacific Islander (API) students at Hunter College (31 percent of total enrollment), the proposed Hunter College AANAPISI Project (HCAP) is strategically positioned to serve API university students at Hunter College and throughout New York City.


Despite attention to minority student development, a sizable sub-group of API students at Hunter College face a variety of barriers to achievement in higher education due to their backgrounds as first-generation college-goers, as immigrants or children of immigrants, and as English-language learners (ESL). The HCAP, thus, aims to mitigate these barriers to educational achievement through programs and services that address two key goals: 1) Develop and improve academic programs for high-need API students; and 2) Enhance student services and counseling for high-need API students. Services working towards these goals include the development of new Asian American Studies Program (AASP) and ESL courses, the creation of an HCAP Leadership Internship program, and the enhancement of advising and mental health services for API students at Hunter College. Outcomes of these services will include measurable increases in the Grade Point Averages (GPAs), persistence, and graduation rates of API students at Hunter College as well as enhanced knowledge and visibility of API student psychosocial development and backgrounds throughout the institution’s curriculum and services.

Two randomized controlled trials provide evidence for the effectiveness of our program:  Harackiewicz et al. (2014) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103196/ and Stephens et al. (2014) https://edpolicy.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/publications/closing-socialclass-achievement-gap.pdf


Laney College, Oakland, California

Applicant Institution: Laney College in the city of Oakland, California, is the largest of four colleges in the Peralta Community College District. At the time of application, Laney enrolled 15,523 diverse urban students.  A percentage rate of 27.8 percent self-declared Asian American Pacific Islander (APIA) ethnicities, with an additional 13.6 percent a blend of ethnicities – including many APIA mixed race students.

Proposal Responds to Shifting Service Area Demographics:  Although African Americans are still Oakland’s largest ethnic/racial group (27.3 percent), over the past decade the city has seen a 25 percent decrease in African American population as many Black families are moving to the suburbs in what has cited in research as an example of the successes of integration.  In counterbalance, the low-income Asian American and Pacific Islander (APIA) populations steadily rise across a wide range of ethnic immigrant groups and cultures – continuing (although with broader ethnic diversity) a historical immigration pattern of new arrivals choosing to settle in Oakland.

Urban Low-Income APIA Immigrant Students who are English Language Learners (ESL)

PROJECT: New Practices to Increase Academic Success of APIA Immigrants

Project Services are Proposed in Three Components

Substantial Addition to Community of Practice for Advancing Underserved APIA Populations

1.   Accelerate ESL & English Language Learning

Adapts national acceleration research to ESL to shorten time immigrants spend on English acquisition.

2.   Scale-up Success Services and Expand APASS (Asian Pacific American Student Success)

Expands impact of APASS by moving successful evidence-based strategies beyond a siloed cohort of APIA students into the general college services.

3.   Improve Intake & Supports for First Time Students in Targeted High Need Group

Includes articulated transition pathways and special support services for immigrant students enrolling at community college after high school.

Competitive Preference Priority: A key success intervention proposed is based on a research study (Sommo, Rudd, & Cullinan, 2012) which showed that students placed into learning communities supported by enhanced services are more likely to persist through college and complete a degree or certificate.

Link to study:  http://www.mdrc.org/sites/default/files/Commencementpercent 20Daypercent 20FR.pdf


Middlesex Community College, Bedford, Massachusetts

Middlesex Community College (MCC), located in Lowell and Bedford Massachusetts, is one of the largest community colleges in Massachusetts awarding 1,548 degrees and certificates in 2015. The city of Lowell is the site of MCC’s primary campus in terms of enrollment as well as the number of Asian American students it serves. Asian Americans in Lowell comprise 20.9 percent of the city’s total population of 110,000, including the second largest Cambodian community in the United States. More than 11 percent of MCC’s credit students are Asian American, primarily Southeast Asian, and 56 percent of the students at MCC receive financial aid. The majority of Asian American students MCC serves are also from families in which they are the first to attend college. Their community has among the lowest income in the state and many come from families who have suffered significant hardships and trauma. Consistent with the economic data regarding the poverty and income levels of the Asian American population in Massachusetts and the Lowell area, there is a high demand for financial aid/support among Asian American students at MCC with more than 70 percent of those enrolled at MCC applying for financial aid. Integrated Postsecondary Education Data (IPED) information (2012-2015 Outcomes) demonstrates that for Asian American “First Time Full Time” (FTFT) students the graduation and transfer rates between 2008 and 2015 were consistently lower (39 percent) than the average for all groups together (42.3 percent).

To improve the academic outcomes of, and learning environments for, Asian American students, MCC proposes a set of interrelated activities:

  • The development of an Asian American Connections Center (AASC) and peer support program “Asian American Student Network” to increase a sense of connection and belonging to the college, address personal coaching and referral needs, as well as foster mutual support and leadership.
  • Personalized support (through a dedicated Asian American Student Advancement Specialist) to better navigate college processes related to course selection, understanding enrollment processes, and meeting financial aid demands and deadlines – in conjunction with the integration of technology - to ensure better follow through at critical steps/junctures in their college lives.
  • Interventions focused on continued support for writing skills to aid English Language Learner (ELL) students as they transition to college courses and in their progress to completion. This will include the use of technology/computerized classrooms and approaches that are known to be responsive to college level writing demands.
  • An initiative aimed at improving the awareness and understanding of faculty and staff related to Asian American students and families to include engagement with community organizations/activities, the involvement of Asian American Graduate Fellows from University of Massachusetts Lowell with MCC students, and the development of academic curriculum relevant to the cultural heritage of Asian American students.

This project meets the Absolute Priority, “Projects that support high-need students which are designed to improve their academic outcomes; learning environments, or both.” Seeking Competitive Preference Priority 2, MCC submits two studies describing interventions the College plans to implement and the student outcomes that the interventions will improve.

Bettinger, E. P., & Baker, R. (2011). http://www.nber.org/papers/w16881

Stephens, N. M., Hamedani, M. G., & Destin, M. (2014). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24553359


Mt. San Antonio College, Walnut, California 

Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC) located in Walnut, California, in eastern Los Angeles County, is among the largest of California’s community colleges. The college’s total enrollment of nearly 36,000 students is 88.5 percent non-white.  Over the past decade, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islanders (AANAPI) have consistently accounted for nearly one-fourth of the college’s credit enrolled population each year. During the 2014-15 academic year, the total unduplicated number of AANAPI students at Mt. SAC was 9,068, or 24 percent of credit students. With such a large student population, Mt. SAC is able to disaggregate data for the various AANAPI sub-groups regarding enrollment, persistence, completion, and student success factors.

Disaggregated data analysis has led Mt. SAC to develop a project that addresses the unique and divergent needs of AANAPI students. The proposed approach is to provide a networked link of services and activities to improve the academic achievement and personal development of AANAPI students.  The five main components of the project are: instructional support, counseling intervention, student development, professional development, and research and evaluation. The project’s activities are aimed at addressing the AANAPISI Program’s absolute priority of improving academic outcomes and learning environments for high-need students, students with disabilities, English learners, disconnected youth or migrant youth, and/or low- skilled adults, as well as the competitive preference priority of providing moderate evidence of effectiveness of the proposed activities.

Mt. SAC will implement the following strategies within each major program component:

  • Instructional Support – (a) instructional strategies to improve students’ English and math skills; (b) Math Up project to refresh students’ math skills, prepare for the placement test, and promote early enrollment in math; (c) interventions for English language learners; (d) development of a community of learners; (e) peer study halls; and (f) tutorial support.
  • Counseling Intervention – (a) Arise Guided Pathways and checklist; (b) one-on-one and group activities to inform, advise, and counsel students about educational planning and career planning; (c) development of term-to-term educational plan: (d) AANAPI guest speakers; (e) individual counseling sessions; (f) financial literacy workshops; and (g) other culturally-appropriate counseling interventions.
  • Student Development – (a) culturally-specific activities designed to enhance AANAPI students’ awareness and pride in their cultural heritage; (b) efforts to enhance students’ sense of self, goal direction, and self-confidence; (c) Fale Fono (culturally-relevant practice that creates a safe space for students to discuss ongoing issues); (d) digital storytelling; and (e) leadership development activities.
  • Professional Development – (a) exploration of instructional strategies to promote success among English Language Learners (ELL) and basic skills math students; (b) training on culturally relevant instructional strategies; and (c) faculty/staff workshops regarding AANAPI students’ cultural orientation to education and learning.
  • Research and Evaluation – (a) development, tracking, and ongoing assessment of student learning outcomes; (b) adjusting and improving strategies based on data analysis; (c) focus groups to determine the unique needs of specific AANAPI sub-populations; and (d) dissemination of findings and model strategies to other institutions of higher education.


Pierce College, Lakewood, Washington

Title: Pierce College Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander (AANAPI) Student


Overview: Pierce College proposes the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander (AANAPI) Student Success project to recruit, retain, graduate, and enhance the college experience annually, from 2016-2012, of 160 AANAPI students, who remain under-served and marginalized and as largely first-generation, low-income, immigrant students, are "at risk" for high rates of college attrition.  Fostering partnerships between Science Technology Engineering Mathematics (STEM), Writing Center, Math lab, Library, Counseling Center, and community organizations, Pierce will recruit, strengthen, and integrate academic, social, and student services.  It serves as a network of learning communities on and off-campus to meet the needs of AANAPI students during their transition to college, engage with academic and social support while in college, create a sense of belonging and civic engagement, as well as ease their transition from college to their chosen careers or four-year university.  The Pierce project outlines two sets of initiatives:  1) Academic and mentor support services will address recruitment and retention of AANAPI students by integrating and enhancing mentor services through summer bridge program. STEM Center, embedded writing, math, and library tutors, and a culturally-relevant curriculum with academic tutoring; and 2) initiatives that will build the students' experiential learning skills and ease their transition from college to university/career.

At least 75 percent of project participants being AANAPISI students and no less than 75 percent of project participants being low-income individuals and low skill adults. Thus, the project will respond directly to the FY2016 AANAPISI grant competition’s Absolute Priority Supporting High-Need Students to improve academic outcomes and learning environment for high need students, English learners, and low-skills adults.  The project design is based on “moderate evidence of effectiveness” that meets the Competitive Preference Priority 2.

The project will provide participants with an array of services, including:

  • Academic tutoring;
  • Counseling (i.e., academic; financial-aid; career; four-year school admissions, and scholarships);
  • Advising on choosing a Guided Pathway; and
  • Frequent, ongoing academic-progress monitoring.

These services will assist participants with overcoming barriers that would otherwise impede their academic progress and lead to their premature departure from higher education.

Additionally, at rates substantially higher than those of students who receive no assistance from the project, participants will:

  • Increase enrollment;
  • Persist from year to year in their respective degree programs; and
  • Graduate from the institution in three-year time frames.


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