The Future is Bright for Asian American and Native Pacific Islander Students

A $2 million grant is championing diverse student population

Rutgers University in Camden has been awarded a grant totaling almost $2 million from the U.S. Department of Education to support the academic success of the growing number of Asian American and Native Pacific Islander students on campus

Rutgers–Camden is a recognized Asian American (AA) and Native American Pacific Islander (NAPI)-Serving Institution (AANAPISI), with about 12.9 percent of its students identifying as AA or NAPI. Spread across five years, the grant dollars will be put toward the unique needs and challenges of this student demographic.

“Our goal is to provide multiple offerings that serve our terrific AA and NAPI students,” said Marsha Lowery, vice chancellor for student academic success. “We will utilize strategies that include the development of data-informed student assessments, integration of culturally relevant curricula, outreach to families and communities, and opportunities for students to engage in research on topics relevant to AA and NAPI populations.”

Marsha Lowery, vice chancellor for student academic success

Marsha Lowery, vice chancellor for student academic success

Due to a growing AA and NAPI student population, Rutgers–Camden is strengthening its support of the distinctive requirements of this community. The school envisions developing an umbrella program, Project Rutgers AANAPISI Completion, to serve as the home for a robust set of culturally affirming student services.

“A cornerstone of our efforts will be the establishment of a Camden-based Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander research center within a newly developed multicultural center,” said Lowery. “This center will foster a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment for all students at Rutgers University—and its community partners—by providing programs and initiatives focused on issues relevant to the community.”

The center will offer social, cultural, and educational opportunities; its programs and projects will contextualize, promote, and examine the unique histories, traditions, and cultural identities within the AA, NAPI, and other diasporic communities.

The Center for Learning and Student Success will deliver peer coaching, student success coaching, financial aid literacy, and career readiness preparation. Success coaching will be a key part of this center, concentrating on retention, credit accumulation, and graduation.

“We will be transforming how we design and deliver coaching to ensure it empowers our AA and NAPI students to reach their educational goals,” said Lowery. “There is a recognized need for the development of sustained, personalized mentoring and coaching relationships with individual students that reinforce their achievements and progress.”

An emphasis on completion will be addressed through enhanced financial resources that will help students to purchase textbooks or participate in experiential learning activities such as study abroad, internships, and research opportunities.

Ever since the United States Congress first established the AANAPISI designation in 2007, these campuses have been empowering AA and NAPI students. Federal data and independent research show the positive influence of AANAPISI programs as broadening opportunity and bringing degree completion within reach for underserved AA and NAPI students, many of whom are low income and among the first in their families to attend college.

“Rutgers–Camden is further enhancing its commitment to fostering environments of inclusion and belonging by actively creating meaningful spaces to prepare our AA and NAPI students for success, personally and professionally,” said Rutgers–Camden Chancellor Antonio D. Tillis. “The services and resources funded by this grant will add value to the whole university because we are stronger when we—together—tap into the full range of talent from all of our students.”

Creative Design: Douglas Shelton