NCAPA Pushes for Higher Education Access

September 24, 2019, 12:18 PM HST (Updated September 24, 2019, 12:21 PM)
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The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) issued the following statement in recognition of Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) Week:

“Considering the immense impact the AANAPISI program has had for the AAPI community, AANAPISI Week should be a time for celebration and appreciation. However, due to opposition in the Senate, the future of this program is in jeopardy. We commend the House of Representatives for recognizing that without swift action, funding for the AANAPISI program would expire at the end of the month, yet despite overwhelming bipartisan support, this legislation is being obstructed in the Senate.

The Senate must do better than to deny funding for Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander students, millions of other students of color and low-income students and the educational institutions that serve them. We call on the Senate to pass the FUTURE Act immediately.”

The AANAPISI program has been critical for retention, graduation, and providing language access for low-income Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students, the NCAPA said in a press release.

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Currently, funding for the program is scheduled to expire at the end of the month and while the House of Representatives passed the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act to extend funding, the legislation is being blocked in the Senate, the release continued.

“The AANAPISI program has been absolutely critical to the educational success of Southeast Asian American students,” said Quyen Dinh, executive director of Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC). “As students from low-income, refugee communities who are often the first in their families to attend college, SEAA youth may struggle to access, afford and complete higher education. AANAPISI’s have helped to close this gap by providing SEAA students with the resources needed to help navigate complex educational systems and a community to strengthen their SEAA identity. The Senate must take up the bill immediately to ensure that it is signed into law by Sept. 30. Congress cannot allow funding to lapse.”

Dinh’s concern was shared by several others quoted in the release.

“Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) are vital to ensuring that higher education is available to the most vulnerable Asian American and Pacific Islander students,” said David Inoue, the executive director of Japanese American Citizens League. “Contrary to the false narrative that Asian Americans are overrepresented in our colleges, there remain many impediments to pursuing the dream of higher education for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and AANAPISIs help remove some of those barriers.”

“The bipartisan FUTURE Act is imperative for getting our nation’s poorest, particularly immigrant and first-generation students to and through college,” said Rita Pin Ahrens, OCA National executive director. “The Senate needs to do its job and vote on MSI funding before it runs out this month. Voting yes now for the FUTURE Act as we celebrate HBCU Week, HSI Week, AANAPISI Week and National Tribal College Week throughout the months of September and October sends a strong message of support and celebration of America’s growing diversity.”

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