Saturday, March 16, 2013

Update on Pacific Islander access to Underrepresented Minority Programs: Eligibility Rising, Exclusion Falling

(Click on infographic to view larger image)

Last fall, we shared our national study on Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander access to underrepresented minority scholarships and fellowships. It was important for us to do this study, because we wanted to see how much things had changed since this problem was measured in 2004. We also wanted to be able to show you exactly how many scholarships and fellowships followed the clear data on Pacific Islander underrepresentation (vs those who don't). 

Since then, we've been reaching out to the programs in our sample who still needed to change their policies to reflect the decades of data on Pacific Islander underrepresentation. We wanted to reach out to them first because we believe that if these well-intended programs see the facts, they will choose to change their policies and let Pacific Islanders in. 

So far, that approach has achieved slow but steady results. In the past six months, four scholarships have changed their eligibility policies after hearing from us!  That increase in programs that recognize Pacific Islander underrepresentation -- from 28 percent to 36 percent -- is a slightly higher rate of change we saw from 2004 to 2012 (21 to 28 percent). 

In other words, we've made more progress in the last six months than had been made in the last eight years before P.I.A. project started sharing the data with the scholarships and fellowships!

The Pacific Islander Project is proud to have played a part in this, but it's the scholarships and fellowships themselves that deserve credit for changing their policies. Mahalo again to the HBCU Minority Scholarship, the Actuarial Foundation, and National Medical Fellowships Inc (which opened up both of its two underrepresented minority scholarships) for making the right choice! 


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