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Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI)


What is an AANAPISI?

AANAPISI stands for Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution. AANAPISI is a federal designation from the United States Department of Education. AANAPISI-designated institutions are eligible to apply to receive grants and related assistance to improve and expand their capacity to serve Asian American, Native American Pacific Islanders, and low-income students.

Benefits to Campus

UC San Diego is proud to announce that we have received AANAPISI designation, which is one of the Minority Serving Institution (MSI) designations campuses may be eligible for through the U.S. Department of Education. Having AANAPISI designation not only acknowledges the large, diverse population of Asian American and Pacific Islander students who attend and graduate from UC San Diego, it allows UC San Diego to apply for outside funding that will aim to expand and improve the overall quality of experience for Asian American and Pacific Islander undergraduate, first generation, and low-income students. AANAPISI designation, together with UC San Diego’s efforts to be designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), will position UC San Diego to be recognized as a premier MSI. Such recognition will provide new opportunities for UC San Diego students and help recruit incoming students from the state of California and beyond.

Holding AANAPISI designation acknowledges our commitment to supporting educational equity and access for diverse students of California. This designation encourages our campus to see the different experiences our Asian American and Pacific Islander students are having at UC San Diego. Additionally, our campus will seek to find ways to make Asian American and Pacific Islander student experiences as well as the experiences of other students on campus more equitable to positively impact student success.  Education, interventions, and advocacy will be crucial to supporting the UC San Diego community’s efforts to center Asian American and Pacific Islander students with the most need.

Task Force

In Spring 2021 the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, convened a joint Senate-Administration Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI) Task Force. This Task Force reviewed campus data and relevant literature, and assessed campus practices.  Their report included an assessment of current university practices and made recommendations to improve student experience.

The task force’s first recommendation was to apply for AANAPISI designation from the U.S. Department of Education. The campus has received the designation and is committed to renewing this status annually.  

Additional recommendations are being considered by the senior leadership of UC San Diego and a strong strategy forward will be provided to a new AANAPISI Implementation Task Force.

What are the requirements for a campus to become an AANAPISI?

There are two requirements:

  • Enroll at least 10% undergraduate Asian American and Pacific Islander students
  • Be within federal guidelines for serving students receiving federal student financial and spending limits per undergraduate student.

Campuses need to complete the application for designation of eligibility, which is a common application that determines eligibility for all MSI designations.

What is a Minority Serving Institution (MSI)?

MSIs are U.S. institutions of higher education that have been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), a Tribal College and University (TCU), a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI), an Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian Serving Institution (ANNH), Native American-Serving Nontribal Institution (NASNTI), and/or a Predominantly Black Institution (PBI). While HBCUs and TCUs are designated by the history and founding of the institution, all other types of MSIs are designated through application based on the demographics present within the undergraduate populations at those institutions.

Can a campus be designated as both an AANAPISI and an HSI?

Campuses that meet the enrollment minimums are able to hold each designation. In fact, many of our UC counterparts have both designations.

Who are Asian American people?

Asian American people are people who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and undocumented people who are descendants of people who originated from places in East Asia (e.g. Japan, China, South Korea, Okinawa), Southeast Asia (e.g. Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand), and South Asia (e.g. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh). The U.S. Census reports that people share as many as 40 different Asian American ethnic populations in reporting their ethnicity on the Census. The UC application for admissions lists 15 options for applicants to select from under the “Asian/Asian American” ethnicity categories, including one for “Other Asian.”

Who are Native American Pacific Islander people?

Native American Pacific Islander refers to people who are indigenous to areas that are now U.S. states, territories, or part of the U.S.-governed Trust and are located in Polynesia, Melanesia, or Micronesia. In addition to Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians), this typically also includes Chamorros, Samoans, Saipanese, and other indigenous people from Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth Northern Mariana Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, and Palau.

UC San Diego uses the acronym APIMEDA. Is this the same?

APIMEDA stands for Asian Pacific Islander Middle Eastern Desi American. This term was implemented several years ago as the result of student input regarding how they preferred to be identified. Students advocated for the term APIMEDA to be used to define the diversity of identities and cultures represented on our campus.

In addition to the Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander populations mentioned above, APIMEDA also includes other domestic Pacific Islander populations and the domestic population that the UC system counts as Southwest Asian and North African (SWANA) American students. 

Many of these students also have similar demographic data as their Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander counterparts, such as higher rates of first-generation and low-income students coming from these populations.  The variety of cultural backgrounds of APIMEDA students come from requires consideration in developing programs that serve these students holistically.

How is UC San Diego supporting Asian American and Pacific Islander student success?

UC San Diego has taken several important steps toward improving services and programs for our growing population of Asian American and Pacific Islander students, many of whom are first in their families to attend college. Given our recent progress as a student‐centered university, we believe our AANAPISI designation will lead to greater outcomes for all students. We remain committed to taking every opportunity to better serve and support students from Asian American and Pacific Islander backgrounds. Through mentorship, culturally relevant pedagogy, and increased representation, our faculty and staff who share these students’ identities and experiences play a critical role in their success. UC San Diego’s AANAPISI designation further supports our thriving Asian American and Pacific Islander student communities and promotes a more inclusive environment for all.

Why did UC San Diego apply to become an AANAPISI?

As a public institution in the state of California, UC San Diego has a responsibility to serve the people of California. As a public institution with a large undergraduate population of Asian American and Pacific Islander descent, we are positioned to be a leader for the nation in supporting our students. In addition, disaggregation of our race and ethnicity data show that many of our Pacific Islander and Southeast Asian American students encounter a disproportionately higher number of challenges in navigating higher education. Efforts to center the needs of these populations to create an environment where all UC San Diego students can thrive.

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