Asian American Native American and Pacific Islander Program

Oakton became the first community college in Illinois to receive the Asian American Native American and Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI) designation in 2020. AANAPISI is one of eight federally designated Minority-Serving Institutions (MSI) programs established by the U.S. Department of Education.

The AANAPISI program provides federal funding for colleges and universities and works to improve the availability and quality of higher education for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) college students. 

Under the five-year AANAPISI program funding, which runs from 2020-2025, Oakton has established the Center for Organizing Minority Programs to Advance Student Success (COMPASS) with the goals to: 

  • Increase the retention (persistence) of first-time, full-time AAPI degree-seeking students at Oakton who enrolled in the previous year and are enrolled in the current year.
  • Increase the completion rate of first-time, full-time AAPI degree-seeking students.

There are six program strategies to improve the opportunity gap and achieve these goals for AAPI students.

AAPIs@Oakton Podcast

The AAPIs@Oakton podcast features the Asian American Pacific Islander community at Oakton. We invite guests to share their stories and what's happening in Chicagoland's Asian American community.

Opportunities for AAPI students Through COMPASS

The Silk Road Scholarship is an endowment fund to help reduce financial barriers for AAPI students. For more details on how to apply, please visit the Oakton Scholarship Application.

Through COMPASS, the College hired its first full-time Asian American academic advisor to support AAPI students educational and career goals while at Oakton through culturally-tailored advising approaches.

To better engage AAPI students, COMPASS organizes various programs and workshops throughout the academic year. Individualized support and online resources are available, including:

  • Faculty seminars: 4 - 8 week seminars focused on developing our capacity to support AAPI students through curricular, pedagogical and institutional interventions.
  • Workshops introducing faculty to important concepts and research related to supporting AAPI students, such as the Model Minority Myth and the role of AANAPISIs in higher education.
  • An AAPI reading group provides a space for faculty and staff to discuss AAPI literature reflecting the experiences and work of diverse AAPI communities. The reading group is open to all.
  • Other opportunities include site visits to AAPI cultural centers and events in the Chicagoland area, screenings of documentary films, presentations and workshops led by invited speakers.
  • AAPIs@Oakton Podcast - A monthly podcast highlighting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the Chicagoland area and Oakton College community.

COMPASS has formed a partnership with Niles Township High School to provide opportunities for AAPI high school students to learn more about 2-year colleges and the importance of post-secondary education.

COMPASS continues to highlight the importance of disaggregated data collection among AAPI students by race and ethnicity in order to identify the problems and address the structural barriers that certain AAPI subgroups face.

Code Elevate is a summer coding program for high school girls of color.

Students are introduced to basic HTML and JavaScript. It is designed in collaboration with Oakton’s Computer Science Department and Division of STEM. In addition to coding, students explore college options and connect with tech professionals while earning a college credit upon completion of the program. This program is aimed at encouraging AAPI women to pursue careers in Computer Science and Technology.

Women in Tech is a discussion series for Oakton students interested in learning about working in the tech industry.


Dear Aunaetitrakul
"Like all students, the AAPI student population should feel supported in all the ways necessary for success. But their needs are often overlooked. Our goal is to identify strategies and establish a long-term framework that supports AAPI students at Oakton."

Dear Aunaetitrakul

Senior Program Manager, COMPASS

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