Students during the 2015 CCSAA Townhall on AANAPISI Impact


The UIC AANAPISI Initiative ran from 2010-2021 and supported the recruitment, retention, and graduation of Asian American and Pacific Islander students at the University of Illinois at Chicago. It was fully funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) Program, which started after the federal designation was created through legislation in 2007.

The U.S. Department of Education’s term “Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander” refers to Asian American students (with origins from East Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia including the Philippines) and Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander students (with origins from Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, and other Pacific Islands.) The federal funding has supported many first-generation, immigrant, low-income students.

Notable facts about the AANAPISI program nationally:

  • AANAPISIs are the newest federal designation of the Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) program and in 2021 received only 1% of all the appropriations for MSIs.
  • Despite the small amount of appropriations, three quarters of low-income AAPI students attend an AANAPISI.
  • AANAPISIs enroll 40% of AAPI college students even though AANAPISIs only make up 5% of colleges and universities in the U.S.
  • While the focus is to serve Asian American and Pacific Islander students, AANAPISI federal  programs have benefited all students at each AANAPISI institution regardless of background.

The faculty and staff of UIC’s Asian American Resource and Cultural Center and Asian American Studies, and now Global Asian Studies applied for these competitive federal grants and were successfully awarded three AANAPISI grants to enhance the capacity of UIC to serve AA and PI students.

Notable facts about the UIC AANAPISI Initiative:

  • In 2010, UIC became the first funded AANAPISI in the Midwest with the first grant.
  • Becoming an AANAPISI in 2010 designated UIC as a Minority Serving Institution before it also became a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) in 2016.
  • UIC held three grants totalling $5.6 million that made up the UIC AANAPISI Initiative:
    • 2010-2015: Part A Grant, $2 million
    • 2011-2017: Part F Grant, $2.1 million
    • 2015-2021: Part A Grant, $1.5 million
  • UIC is only one of 20 institutions so far that has been funded since the start of the AANAPISI federal program.
  • Now UIC remains one of 166 eligible AANAPISIs even though the campus is no longer a funded and designated AANAPISI. To be eligible, a campus undergraduate enrollment must be over 10% AAPI students and over 50% of all undergraduates at an institution must receive federal financial aid, such as the Pell Grant.

As an funded AANAPISI from 2010-2021 and as a continuing eligible institution, UIC plays a major role in educating Asian American and Pacific Islander students in the Midwest and nationally. Illinois and the Chicago metropolitan area have the highest population of Asian Americans in the Midwest while Illinois, Ohio, and Missouri have the highest population of Pacific Islanders in the Midwest. Also, almost 90% of Asian Americans in Illinois live here, which contributes to the 20% of UIC students who are Asian American.

To learn more about the programs and research carried out by the three grants at UIC, please see Initiative Reports and Research.