Saturday, October 27, 2012

Article on University of Michigan recognizes Pacific Islander underrepresentation

In an article published this week on enrollment at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders were recognized as one of several minority groups that are underrepresented in higher education. Here's the paragraph, from the article in

Underrepresented minorities make up 10 percent of the freshmen class, a 0.5 percent decrease from 2011 and a 0.6 percent decrease from 2010. 
Overall, there are 2,207 blacks, 1,785 latinos, 442 Native Americans and 81 Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders enrolled.

Here are links to a few posts we've written on a few of the other universities that recognize Pacific Islander underrepresentation:

  • San Diego State University: LINK
  • Sacramento State University: LINK


Saturday, October 20, 2012

The P.I.A. project blog surpasses 10,000 visits

Along with the much more important milestone of helping an underrepresented minority scholarship change its policy towards Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders (from ineligible to apply to eligible), the Pacific Islander Access project struck another marker: our blog surpassed 10,000 visits.

Now, 10,000 visits isn't much for a the digital version of a newspaper, a big company's website, or many of the first-tier blogs run by pro bloggers. But for us, it's something we're very proud of.  Let me tell you why:

As you know from my own story, my journey towards founding the PIA project started at nineteen-years-old, when I applied to an underrepresented minority program, and was told that Native Hawaiians weren't recognized as underrepresented. More importantly, I was told that no Native Hawaiian, and no Pacific Islander, could apply for the seats reserved for underrepresented minorities. I decided to challenge the program, starting by doing my own research.  I was aided by what was then an emerging search engine called Google. (Yes, yes, everyone's heard of Google, but back then it was the new thing.)

Google made it easier, but it took a long time for me to put together a source-based explanation showing that Pacific Islanders deserve to be eligible to apply alongside other underrepresented minorities.

When we established the PIA project, one of my goals was to create the online equivalent of an one-stop-shop on this topic.  A place where students in my situation could easily find 20-years-worth of Census data showing Pacific Islander underrepresentation. Where well-intentioned scholarships could learn why they should choose to include Pacific Islanders. And where people could learn more about America's growing Pacific Islander community.

We're still working on our other goals, but we've accomplished our objectives with this blog. 10,000-plus visits, 115 posts, and several years later, I'm grateful for our opportunities, and proud of what this little all-volunteer nonprofit has done.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Infographic showing rate of Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander underrepresentation, 1990-2012

Click infographic to view larger image

Here's another infographic to illustrate a fact we've shared before: for over twenty years, Census data has shown that Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are underrepresented among college graduates.  

This chart shows (in red) the percentage of graduate-age (25-years-and-older) Americans with 4-year-degrees, from 1990 to 2012.  Then, in blue, you see the same figures for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

As you can tell, Pacific Islander graduation rates have been far below the national average for over two decades.  


Sunday, October 07, 2012

HBCU Minority Scholarship updates eligibility policy, chooses to include Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders!

Anyone who's been following our blog knows why the Pacific Islander Access project exists: Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders are underrepresented in higher education, but they're excluded from even applying to many scholarships and fellowships for underrepresented minorities.  We want to raise awareness about this problem, and persuade the scholarships and fellowships to change their policies.

In August, we told you about our national study on the rate of inclusion and exclusion among America's academic programs for underrepresented minorities.  Shortly after that, we wrote every one of the scholarships and fellowships in our study.  For those that did not include Pacific Islanders, we shared our data, and asked them to choose to include - not exclude - Pacific Islanders.

We believe in this approach because we believe that these academic programs are run by caring, well-intended people who wouldn't knowingly choose to exclude a deserving underrepresented minority group from being able to apply.

We are pleased to report that one scholarship has already proven us right!  We heard back from the HBCU Minority Scholarship, and they let us know that they looked at the data and have decided to include Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

In discussing this decision, HBCU Connect CEO Will Moss told us that "It is important that we consider the interest and needs of all minorities that have a desire to pursue their education at one of our country's Historically Black Colleges and Universities. We are honored to have had the request."

The PIA project commends HBCU Connect for making the right decision, and setting an example for other underrepresented minority programs. We hope that other academic programs will follow HBCU Connect's lead. One by one, the scholarships and fellowships themselves can give Pacific Islanders a fair chance to apply alongside other underrepresented groups.


(Are you an academic programs for underrepresented minorities?  If so, thank you for visiting our page!  Please click here to view a special section of our blog with Q&A written specifically for you: LINK