The Asian Pacific Islander American Association of Colleges and Universities (APIACU) was launched with the purpose of addressing the complex set of social realities facing students in the underrepresented and underserved Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community.  The new national “umbrella” organization advocates on behalf of all Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs)—minority-serving institutions (MSIs) designated by Congress that have at least a 10 percent enrollment of AAPI students and have a significant number of AAPI students who are Pell Grant eligible, among other criteria—to better serve the unique needs of the nearly 1.2 million AAPI students* attending these institutions across the nation.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., APIACU supports AANAPISIs in a manner similar to that which the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education serve Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), respectively.

The mission of APIACU has four objectives:

  1. To promote the development of member APIACU colleges and universities;
  2. to improve the quality of postsecondary educational opportunities and access thereto for AAPI students;
  3. to meet the needs of business, industry, and government through the development and sharing of resources, information, and expertise;
  4. to support and advocate for the success of AANAPISIs through the development of programmatic activities of AANAPISIs.

“Together, this team forms the nucleus that will structure the organization’s future to ensure that AAPI students have a voice at the table.” – Mark Mitsui, APIACU Chair

The idea to develop APIACU was presented last year during the first annual higher education summit held by the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF)—the nation’s largest nonprofit organization devoted solely to providing college scholarships for AAPI students—at which the group gave its endorsement to create a national organization of this kind. Another recommendation that came out of the 2010 APIASF higher education summit was the need to include AANAPISIs on the U.S. Department of Education’s website under its MSIs list to increase opportunities and access to resources for AAPI students. In May, in response to this request, the Education Department made this landmark change allowing AANAPISIs to be recognized and listed among other well-known MSIs such as HBCUs, HSIs, and TCUs.

“We look forward to APIACU leading the conversation about issues impacting AANAPISIs and the AAPI students who attend these institutions.  Our hope is to support AANAPISIs—as well as any other postsecondary institution with a large AAPI student population—and reinforce the many contributions these institutions make to the higher education community in an effort to help increase AAPI college completion and student success. We believe through APIACU a positive difference can be made in the lives of millions of AAPI students for years to come.” – Ruby Moy, APIACU President and CEO

“With the AAPI community continuing to be one of the fastest-growing populations within the United States, the participation of AAPI students—along with students from other underrepresented racial/ethnic minority groups—is essential to ensuring that the United States can lead the world in creativity, productivity, and achievement. We envision APIACU as being the national organization for AANAPISIs and, ultimately the voice of AAPI students, to bring much-needed attention to their unique needs.” - Neil Horikoshi, APIASF President and Executive Director