A group of students from the Vietnamese Student Association (VSA), a UMass Lowell cultural student organization, pose in an outdoor night market.

In 2021, UMass Lowell was awarded a five-year, $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, officially designating the university as an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving-Institution (AANAPISI).

To qualify as an AANAPISI within the Minority Serving Institution Program, a university must have:

  • An undergraduate student population consisting of at least 10% Asian American or Native American Pacific Islander students
  • At least 50 percent of the student body eligible for federal need-based financial assistance such as Pell Grants or Federal Work-Study


According to the most recent data, 13% of UMass Lowell undergraduates identify as Asian American, while fewer than 1% are Pacific Islanders. Many of our students come from Southeast Asian refugee families who have settled in and around Lowell, a city with the second largest population of Cambodian Americans in the U.S. Being awarded the grant means designing support for Asian American and Pacific Islander students. We are honored to be an AANAPISI, as well as a Minority Serving Institution.

This grant also enables the creation of the Asian American Center for Excellence & Engagement, which delivers a wide range of student resources, including:

  • A personalized support network
  • Financial literacy training
  • Career mentoring and readiness
  • Cultural competency training across campus and in the curriculum
  • Community partnership

What is AANAPISI Week?

We are excited to spread the word about AANAPISI Week (September 25 - October 1, 2023). This week celebrates Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI), which were established by Congress on September 27, 2007, to improve the availability and quality of postsecondary education programs to support low-income, first generation Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) students.

AANAPISI Week commemorates the significance and achievements of AANAPISIs and provides the opportunity for organizations and institutions to celebrate the educational support of underserved AANHPI students. Our goal this year is to:

  1. Raise awareness and highlight the impact of AANAPISIs on AANHPI student success
  2. Expand our network of advocates and supporters
  3. Develop federal policy champions in support of AANAPISIs
  4. Drive action on issues and policies in the interest of our students

As we seek to build visibility around the impact of these important institutions, we invite our partners to learn more about AANAPISIs, and circulate information about AANAPISI Week to those in their networks who are interested in learning more and supporting AANHPI student success.

Get the AANAPISI Week Toolkit and find other ways to stay engaged on the APIA Scholars website.