students walking and talking on campus

SOCCCD Board approves nearly $2 Million Funding for Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Student Support

MISSION VIEJO, CA – During their October board meeting, the South Orange County Community College District (SOCCCD) Board of Trustees approved a federal grant in the amount of $1.9 million for support of Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander students at Irvine Valley College (IVC).

As an Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI), IVC was eligible for the U.S. Department of Education grant and received the good news about the five-year funding in late September.

“We value our strong partnership with the Department of Education,” said President of the Board, Marcia Milchiker. “As an AANAPISI, Irvine Valley College has the opportunity through this funding to direct resources to students with some of the greatest needs.” 

The grant will allow IVC to implement the Equitable Learning Experience Valuing Achievement, Transfer, Empowering Asian American Pacific Islander (ELEVATE AAPI @IVC) program, building upon previous AANAPISI funding and outcomes.

Additionally, ELEVATE will provide wraparound services and learning communities to 300 students in cohort groups of 60 students, with a focus on serving disadvantaged AAPI students who are impacted by: poverty, low academic attainment, their status as a first- generation college student, mental health challenges, and/or marginalization due to LGBTQIA+ identification.

“The U.S. Department of Education grant could not have been awarded to Irvine Valley College without the technical and writing assistance provided by a talented grant proposal team of faculty and staff—under the leadership of Brooke Bui, Dean of Liberal Arts and a team comprised of Marianne Wolfe, Rachel Manders, Kevin Hsu, Tuan Nguyen, and Josh Dorman,” said IVC President, Dr. John Hernandez.

IVC serves a highly diverse population that has historically experienced significant gaps in academic achievement. In the grant application, IVC reports that over 40 percent of its students are Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander (AANAPI), of which 43 percent experience poverty - the largest group of students from low-income households by volume.

“The grant funding provides a real opportunity to expand our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) efforts in the district,” said SOCCCD Chancellor, Dr. Julianna Barnes. “While we work to uplift cultural heritage and enrichment programming for all students, this funding allows for focused engagement for AANAPI students who need support in overcoming barriers and navigating through hurdles to achieve academic success.”

The U.S. Department of Education grant can be expended over a five-year period and activities within the program can now begin with the recent approval of the funds from the SOCCCD Board of Trustees.


About the South Orange County Community College District: SOCCCD serves nearly 50,000 students per year through our two colleges, Saddleback College and Irvine Valley College. The district serves nearly one million residents and employs more than 3,000 faculty and staff.

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