Not all Asian-American students go to Harvard, Stanford, MIT and Cal Tech. A majority of Asian/Pacific Islander students attend community colleges, according to a report by NYU Professor Robert Teranishi. College-going and graduation rates are very high for East Asian and South Asian students, much lower for Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders.
The AAPI category includes 48 ethnic groups, notes Ed Week.
Mark Mitsui, the president of the North Seattle Community College, said educators and researchers often buy into a “model-minority myth that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are not struggling and that they all go on to Ivy League colleges,” but data shows achievement levels differ dramatically among students from different backgrounds.
For example, more than four of five students from East Asian backgrounds, such as China, Japan and Korea, or South Asian backgrounds such as India and Pakistan earn at least a bachelor’s degree, 51 percent of Pacific Islander students and 41 percent of students from Southeast Asian backgrounds, such as Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, do not go on to higher education.
The AAPI population is growing rapidly: Enrollment of AAPI students at colleges and universities grew fivefold between 1979 and 2009, Teranishi said.
The newly formed Asian American Pacific Islander Association of Colleges and Universities will advocate for institutions serving AAPI students.