Case Study: Ten Colleges Awarded Grants to Expand Opportunities for Asian, Pacific Islanders
John Drew
John Drew
Client

Irvine Valley College

Problem

I am proud to report that my Drew & Associates team wrote a successful $1.5 million grant for Irvine Valley College. This grant was in an NBCNews article by Chris Fuchs "Ten Colleges Awarded Grants to Expand Opportunities for Asian, Pacific Islanders," published
on October 21, 2015.

Ten U.S. colleges and universities will receive grants totaling more than $2.9 million to help expand and strengthen educational opportunities for Asian-American and Native American Pacific Islander students, the U.S. Department of Education announced last week.

The grants can be used to improve instruction, facilities, and the quality of academics on campus, according to the Department of Education.

"These funds will enhance the quality of these schools to better prepare Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander students for success in college and careers, by giving them the skills they need to compete in the 21st century, global economy," Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement.

Four of the 10 colleges and universities to receive federal awards, ranging from $269,023 to $300,000 per grant, were in California.

Solution

To qualify for the grants, at least 10 percent of a college or university's undergraduate population must be Asian American or Native American Pacific Islander, and the school must be eligible for Title III funding. Part of the Higher Education Act enacted in 1965, Title III funds are allocated to assist schools in expanding educational opportunities for minority and low-income students.

Irvine Valley College, a community college in Orange County that received one of the grants, plans to use the money for an intercultural center for students interested in science, technology, engineering, and math, as well as art, President Glenn R. Roquemore told NBC News.

Of the 14,964 students enrolled in Irvine Valley College, 28 percent are Asian, according to the school's website. Roquemore said his school received $1.5 million spread out over 5 years and will also use that funding for faculty and peer mentoring services, as well as for outreach to Asian-American and Native American Pacific Islander students.

"Although Irvine is oftentimes observed as being fairly wealthy, 50 percent of our students are on what's called bond waivers, and that means that they actually qualify being in poverty based on federal guidelines," Roquemore said.

Result

News of the grants comes a week after California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill proposing new categories that Asians, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders could use to identify themselves when providing demographic data that state agencies, boards or commissions are required to collect.

"Dividing people into ethnic or other subcategories may yield more information, but not necessarily greater wisdom about what actions should follow," Brown wrote to the California State Assembly in explaining his decision.

Proponents of the bill have said that offering more options for ancestry and ethnic origin could help policymakers better identify and address issues in higher education and healthcare access particular to certain groups within the Asian-American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities.

In education, wide disparities exist in California among these groups, according to a report by the Campaign for College Opportunity, a nonprofit based in California. While 73 percent of Chinese complete California community college in six years, for instance, only 29 percent of Samoans do the same, the report said.