CU Denver attains AANAPISI status, with $1.8M student success grant

May 18, 2023

Dear Faculty & Staff:


Thank you for all your great work this academic year, culminating in last weekend’s Commencements (yes, two ceremonies organized quickly at a new site) involving nearly 2,300 graduates. I’m still buzzing with positive energy from that day – and I am even more excited coupled with the news I am about to share with you, during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month no less.


CU Denver | Anschutz is now officially an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution! We just received the official word from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). This comes after nearly two years of significant work by theAANAPISI Operational Team to attain this designation and a related grant.


To qualify, an institution applying for funds must have an enrollment of undergraduate students that is at least 10 percent Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and meet other requirements based on Pell-eligible students and educational costs. Based on Spring 2022 enrollment (when we submitted the grant proposal), AAPI students made up 14 percent of our dual campus undergraduate enrollment.


The DOE has awarded us $1.8 million over the next five years. The grant project will fund five initiatives: 

  • A peer student success coaching program 
  • A peer mental health program 
  • Student action research teams, with an initial focus on gaining a more detailed understanding of the assets and needs of our AAPI students 
  • An evidence-based content creation team to build materials for use by the peer student success and mental health coaches 
  • Expansion of dual-enrollment Ethnic Studies courses at area high schools    

It took a great amount of work to become the only research university in the Rocky Mountain region with AANAPISI status. I want to thank Antonio Farias, vice chancellor for diversity, equity, and inclusion, for his executive sponsorship of this endeavor. I also send my heartfelt appreciation to the entire AANAPISI Operational Team, led by the two principal investigators, Associate Vice Chancellor for DEI Sam Kim and Associate Dean and Associate Professor Faye Caronan. Managing Associate University Counsel Chris Puckett and Director of DEI Grants Terry Hughes also played key roles in this project.


As part of a federally designated minority-serving institution, our campus and faculty will be eligible to apply for additional federal grants, receive priority points in grant scoring, and be considered a preferred partner for other institutions. We will be eligible to compete for substantial grants from several organizations, including the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


We know our faculty will have questions on these grants, so we have developed an initial FAQ and will include more information as we approach the fall. Also, during the fall, we will plan broader communications and a celebratory event to mark this most exciting development.
This is another monumental accomplishment toward
Strategic Plan Goal 1 in becoming the nation’s first equity-serving institution. Congratulations to all of you!

Michelle Mark signature

Michelle Marks

Chancellor’s Office

CU Denver

Lawrence Street Center

1380 Lawrence Street

Suite 1400

Denver, CO 80204


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