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Recognizing the Higher Education Accomplishments of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

by NSC Blog | May 13, 2024 | Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, Current Term Enrollment, New College Graduates Report, Research Reports, Signature Reports

May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month—an opportunity for the education community to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander students. In the 170 years since Yung Wing received his degree from Yale College in 1854 and became the first Chinese student to graduate from an American university, students of Asian descent have become an essential part of our student bodies and have contributed enormously to our higher education institutions. Approximately 940,000 Asian American and Pacific Islander undergraduates were enrolled in the fall 2023 term.

The Clearinghouse recognizes the accomplishments these students have made in higher education through the research from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

  • Freshman Enrollment: In Fall 2023, nearly 127,000 Asian Americans, an increase of 3.6% over the previous year, and over 5,200 Pacific Islanders, a decrease of 4.4%, enrolled as freshmen, beginning their journey in higher education, according to the Fall 2023 Current Term Enrollment Estimates (CTEE) report.
  • Current Term Enrollment: In total, close to 940,000 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders were enrolled in an undergraduate program in Fall 2023, and over 237,000 were enrolled in a graduate program, as also reported in the CTEE report. Of note, more than 18,000 Asian undergraduates who were enrolled at public 4-year institutions were 30 years or older.
  • Undergraduate Degree Earners: In the 2022-2023 academic year, over 152,000 Asian American students and over 5,800 Pacific Islander students earned their first-ever undergraduate credential, as covered in the Spring 2024 Undergraduate Degree Earners report.

This month gives us an opportunity to appreciate the contributions Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander students make to the higher education community. The Research Center’s data empowers higher education leaders to support diverse student populations, including Asian American students, by providing insights into enrollment trends, retention rates, and degree completion. This enables institutions to identify disparities, develop targeted strategies, and ensure the success of all students, regardless of their background or identity. Learn more at https://nscresearchcenter.org/.

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