Robert Teranishi Receives $2 Million to Boost Academic Success Among Asian-American & Pacific Islander College Students

Robert Teranishi, project director of the National Commission on Asian-American and Pacific Islander Research in Education (CARE) at NYU Steinhardt, in conjunction with the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF), the nation’s largest non-profit organization devoted to providing college scholarships for AAPI students, received nearly $2 million to support the Partnership for Equity in Education through Research (PEER) project to help realize the full degree-earning potential of the AAPI student population.

Funded by The Kresge Foundation, USA Funds, and the Walmart Foundation, the award is believed to be one of the largest investments in history to increase AAPI student success.

“With the number of AAPI students projected to increase significantly in coming years, we need to investigate promising practices and target interventions that promote access and success for this population,” said Teranishi, associate professor of higher education in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences in the Professions.  “Unfortunately, the most marginalized and vulnerable AAPI students too often go overlooked and underserved in higher education.”

According to the 2010 U.S. Census data, the AAPI population is projected to reach nearly 40 million people by 2050. Additionally, CARE data show AAPI students will also experience a 35 percent college enrollment over the next decade.

“We’re pleased to be spearheading an innovative effort that supports the rapidly growing underserved AAPI student population to complete college,” said APIASF President and Executive Director Neil Horikoshi.  “In the coming years, the PEER project can possibly help reshape the entire U.S. higher education system and its barriers to equitably meet the unique needs of these underserved and overlooked students.

Over the next three years, the PEER project will conduct work to support Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs). The PEER project will conduct research with campus teams to identify promising practices, implement targeted interventions, and mobilize campus leaders in order to support greater institutional effectiveness. It will share resources for widespread AAPI student success by incentivizing AAPI students academically with scholarships. It will also create an opportunity to give more useful data about AANAPISIs taking into account key issues affecting AAPI student access and success higher education.

“America’s colleges and universities are currently serving 1.3 million AAPI undergraduate students. Holistic approaches to serve these students’ needs are realized at AANAPISIs,” said Teranishi. “Minority-serving Institutions, including AANAPISIs, play a vital role in advancing the national college completion agenda and the democratic mission of higher education.  Through the PEER project, we would like to achieve the same success beyond our pilot campuses, in other AANAPISIs, and eventually throughout the entire higher education community.”

The PEER project is working collaboratively with three AANAPISI “pilot” campuses: De Anza College, City College of San Francisco, and South Seattle Community College.  These institutions—which have previously demonstrated some of the greatest success when it comes to supporting AAPI students as they pursue their degrees—will serve as key project partners.

To learn more about the CARE and the PEER project, visit: