UMass Lowell to build AAPI center, give scholarships to Southeast Asian refugee students with $1.5M grant

UML refugee students

The University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) will receive $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) over the course of five years to support Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) students.

Educational effort: UML has seen increasing amounts of Southeast Asian resettled refugee students within the past decade, according to the university.

  • The five-year grant will allow the university to open the Asian American Center for Engagement and Excellence (AACEE), an AAPI student center that will “provide staff and peer support in accessing financial aid and academic, career and wellness services.”
  • The funds will also help add on to the university’s Center for Asian American Studies and the programs offered by Multicultural Affairs and AAPI student clubs and organizations.
  • UML applied in 2020 for the DOE grant as a “minority-serving institution,” where at least 10% of university’s students are AAPI who have demonstrated a need for financial aid.
  • Many students at UML come from Southeast Asian refugee families that have settled in and around the town of Lowell. There are also many more South Asian and East Asian American students who come from middle-class and upper-class families at the school as well.
  • UML Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Julie Nash said that enrollment of Southeast Asian students at the university has increased over the past decade, and the school wants to help increase graduation rates of those students by providing financial, language and cultural services to them.
  • Lowell has the second largest population of Cambodian Americans in the U.S. The city is also home to many refugees from Vietnamese, Hmong, Lao and Myanmar.
  • The university will dedicate a portion of the grant, $10,000 each year for five years, towards scholarships for Southeast Asian American students.

UML is among several other schools around the country who are in the process of developing additional resources for their Asian and Asian American students and faculty. The University of Virginia (UVA) is currently looking over a $3 million budget proposal written by four AAPI UVA students.

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Featured Image from UMass Lowell VSA

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