Helping Asian students succeed

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

Community colleges work to meet the needs of Asian students.

A DataPoint from the American Association of Community Colleges this week reveals that nearly half of Asian students who started at public two-year institutions in 2012 completed college within six years. That’s a higher persistence and completion rate than any other race-ethnicity group.

How are community colleges helping Asian students succeed?

In Lowell, Massachusetts — which has nation’s second largest Cambodian population — Middlesex Community College runs the Program for Asian American Student Advancement (PAASA). The program offers a holistic support system with a dedicated staff. Advising, mentoring and leadership development opportunities are available through the program.

PAASA is housed in the college’s Asian American Connections Center, where students can socialize and study together and have access to computers. The center opened in 2017 and has been featured in the NY Times.

About 10 years ago, South Seattle College in Washington became one of the first colleges designated by the U.S. Department of Education as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI). “we learned we can’t treat the entire group as singular,”.

“As a college, we’re trying to help people understand the complexity of the population,” President Rosie Rimando-Chareunsap, the daughter of Filipino immigrants, said in a CC Daily article.

The college received more than $4 million between 2008 and 2016 in AANAPISI funds to increase its capacity to serve Asian/Pacific Islander (API) students.

The college has increased outreach to high schools and community groups that serve API students. College staff work with high school teachers and counselors to help those students with admissions, placement and the financial aid process. An AANAPISI Center provides academic and social supports. The college also worked to increase API staff and make the curriculum more reflective of API culture.

How is your college serving the needs of API students? Sound off at LinkedIn.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.