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Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund money available

Check it out for financial assistance for college

Good news for aspiring college students in the territory. If you are of Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity as defined by the US Census, and have a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale (unweighted), or have earned a general equivalency diploma (GED), you are eligible to apply for financial assistance from the Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF).

Samoa News knows of four local students who are in the process of submitting applications for funding.

According to the APIASF, some of the minimum eligibility criteria require that the applicant be a citizen, national, or legal permanent resident of the United States. Furthermore, the applicant must be enrolling as an undergraduate student in a U.S. accredited college or university in the Fall of 2017.

They must also apply for federal financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit one letter of recommendation online.

Samoa News asked several students about their plans after high school and/ or ASCC and the responses were similar. “It all depends on whether we get scholarships or not.” One student even said, “I don’t want to have my parents get a loan to send me to school and I don’t want to apply for a student loan.” She continued, “It will take a while to pay the money back,” adding that some of her family members are still struggling to pay back their student loans, even after years of graduating college.

The consensus amongst the students who spoke to Samoa News was, “If we can get scholarships and/or grant money to go to college, we’re all for it. But just the thought of getting loans and having to pay them back is not something we want to do.”

Another student claimed that her cousin was one of those people who received money from the Development Bank of American Samoa (DBAS) to attend college but during the school year, there was a hiccup that resulted in her cousin having to miss class because the school did not receive timely payment for her tuition.

The APIASF general scholarship program opened its online applications on September 15, 2016 and the deadline to apply is January 11, 2017 at 11:59 PM EST.

Scholarship awards range from one-time $2,500 awards, to multi-year $20,000 awards.

According to APIASF, scholarships are provided to underserved students with special focus on those who:

  • Live at or below the poverty level, or are otherwise of low socioeconomic status;
  • Are the first in their families to attend college;
  • Are representative of the AAPI community's diversity, geographically and ethnically, especially those ethnicities that have been underrepresented on college campuses due to limited access and opportunity; and
  • Have placed strong emphasis on community service and leadership as well as solid academic achievement.

An overview of the criteria clearly places a number of local students on the ‘eligible’ list.

“The APIASF General Scholarship Program application must be completed online and submitted electronically once all of the required questions have been answered. You do not have to complete the online application in one sitting. Until you are ready to submit, you may access your application and edit your answers as many times as you like with your login from any computer with internet access.”

All questions and concerns can be forwarded to Outreach and Community Relations at or call 1-877-808-7032.

Interested applicants only need to complete one APIASF General Scholarship application to be considered for all APIASF General Scholarship opportunities.

According to the APIASF, “Applicants will be considered for all 2017-2018 academic year scholarship opportunities if they meet the criteria.”

For the current 2016-2017 academic year, the APIASF awarded 433 new APIASF General Scholarships. The Program, whose motto is “Today’s Minds, Tomorrow’s Future” is supported by huge corporations and foundations including AT&T, Bank of Hope, The Coca-Cola Foundation, Cox Enterprises, Darden Restaurants Foundation, FedEx, Frances Sonn Nam Memorial Scholarship, General Mills Foundation, NASA, NBCUniversal, Target, Toyota, United Health Foundation, Southern California Edison, and Wells Fargo.