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APIA Scholars Comment on Updating OMB's Race and Ethnicity Statistical Standards

APIA Scholars Comment on Updating OMB's Race and Ethnicity Statistical Standards

PR Newswire

Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholars (APIA Scholars) Comment on the Federal Register Notice Initial Proposals for Updating OMB's Race and Ethnicity Statistical Standards

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- APIA Scholars, the nation's largest non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to higher education and resources that cultivate the academic, personal and professional success of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander students, collectively known as AANAHPIs submitted the following into official record in the Federal Register.

On behalf of APIA Scholars, the more than 8,100 students we have worked with, and the millions of others in our community, I want to thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed revisions to the Statistical Policy Directive 15. It is extremely important that the proposed changes that would require the collection of detailed race and ethnicity categories by default be handled in such a way as to finally meet the needs of AANAHPI students. We are a collection of highly diverse communities with our own complex migration and settlement histories and different experiences with political, citizen and immigrant status. Though our communities represent over 50 ethnic groups and speak over 300 languages, this diversity is rarely represented in federal data collection. As a result, the current data disaggregation standards mask our needs, overstate some strengths, and create real challenges for the students we serve.

For instance, while aggregate data report that Asian Americans are high achieving in educational attainment, with over 50% holding a bachelor's degree vs. the national average of 38%, disaggregated data demonstrate that the rate is for 20% of Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, and Bhutanese. Within the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities, the statistic is even lower with Hawaiians at 19% and the Marshallese at 6%. Often these students are from low-income, refugee communities that have been underserved and the lack of English language access, academic and culturally relevant support has negatively impacted their academic experience. But absent disaggregated data that illuminates these patterns and needs, students are left without the services and opportunities they deserve.

Among other problems, the current federal data practices perpetuate the damaging "model minority myth" that stereotypes the AANHPI community as a successful monolith and prevents many students from receiving the targeted financial, academic, linguistic and social supports they need to persevere in postsecondary institutions.

The good news is that there is a functional model for collecting the appropriately disaggregated data already in place within the federal government at the Census Bureau. We ask that the federal standards for collecting detailed demographic data on AANAHPI students go further and collect information on the more than 50 distinct groups through checkbox options to ensure no community is rendered invisible. If that is impossible, the federal standards should allow non-Census data collections to utilize the format that combines checkboxes with write-in options.

We urge you to adopt the disaggregated federal data collection standards we have outlined so that all Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities are given the recognition, resources, and dignity we deserve.

Media Contact

Wendy Wong, Asian Pacific Islander American Scholars, 1 3108698120,


SOURCE Asian Pacific Islander American Scholars

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