New study reveals hidden facts about college for Asian American and Pacific Islander students from California

Credit: Robert C. Bain/San Jose State University

Kathleen Wong (Lau), diversity officer at San Jose State University, at a rally at San Jose City Hall to speak out against anti-Asian hate crimes in the Bay Area last week.

Although college graduation and graduation rates are among the highest in the state for Asian American Californians, the same cannot be said for Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in California. .

The great diversity of racial groups may hide that Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in California have lower admission rates to the University of California and Asian Americans have lower transfer rates from California. Community Colleges, according to a published report today by the Campaign for College Opportunity, a nonprofit research organization.

“This report makes it abundantly clear that analysis and action on disaggregated data about Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander students is critical for California college leaders and policy makers to more effectively direct resources to closing equity gaps in student outcomes,” Michele said. Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunities. “California’s ability to thrive economically depends in large part on the contributions of Asian American students and the NHPI, which requires understanding the unique needs of our diverse student populations and tailoring support to ensure that all students have an equal opportunity to attend and succeed in college.”

California has the largest Asian American population of any state at nearly 6.8 million, and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders at more than 332,000. In the traditional 18-24 age group, the The state has approximately 480,000 Asian Americans and 15,000 NHPIs.

Transfer rates from community colleges to a public university are low for almost all students. But for Asian Americans, only 38% transfer after six years and only 15% earn a degree or certificate. Among Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander students, 22% transfer and 11% earn a degree or certificate within six years.

Graduation in California State University’s 23-campus system also varies due to diversity within the two racial groups. Fewer than 29% of Asian Americans and 24% of NPHI freshmen graduate within four years. However, the variability in graduation rates is as high as the graduation rate from 85% for Malaysian American students to 35% for Samoan students.

Graduation rates for Asian and NHPI students are high within the UC system, but also vary by ethnicity. The report found that six-year graduation rates for these students range from 50% for Tongans to 94% for Sri Lankan students.

The campaign also revealed that there are not as many Asian professors and NHPIs as there are students in the three higher education systems. According to the study, the student-to-faculty ratio of the same race is two to three times higher than for their white classmates.

The campaign recommended that high schools improve NHPI student graduation rates to at least 90% and make AG courses the default for all California students. They also called for more support for Asian American and NHPI students affected by the rise in hate crimes and the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This report provides important calls to action that stem from extensive consultation with community organizations and leaders in political and educational systems,” said Karthick Ramakrishnan, chairman of the California Commission on APIA Affairs. . “I hope this report will inspire policy makers to invite community stories and expertise, creating the conditions for strategic action that significantly advances inclusion and equity in higher education. “

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