Inside Counts



There are many terms that are used to denote Asian and Pacific Islander populations, including (but not limited to): Asian Pacific American (APA), Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI), and Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander (AANHPI). We use Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA)as a pan-ethnic classification that consciously includes South Asians (Desi) as part of the community. There is a great diversity of identities and ethnicities encompassed under the APIDA term, including East Asian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander. There are conflicting views on the appropriateness and oversimplification of any racial classification. Thus, we acknowledge that the terms students use to describe themselves are part of a dynamic process of selfdetermination and self-identification. Moreover, it is important to recognize that there is great heterogeneity in the historical contexts that shape the experiences within the APIDA ethnic groups (e.g., certain
Southeast Asian American ethnic groups being relatively new to the United States). For the current report, we have disaggregated the APIDA ethnic groups into regional groups as classified by the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence (, with two modifications: 1) the Filpinx ethnic group has been disaggregated into their own separate category (FIL) because of their longer history in the United States compared to the other Southeast Asian ethnic groups and the relative size of this group at CSUN, and 2) due to the shared sociopolitical identity as refugees caused by the aftermath of the Viet Nam war, Khmer Rouge Genocide in Cambodia, and the U.S. Secret War in Laos, Khmer, Hmong, Lao, Mien, Montagnard, and Viet ethnic groups have been grouped as one-half of the Southeast Asia region (SEA1) and the remaining ethnic groups in the Southeast Asia region are grouped separately (SEA2), Burmese, Indonesian, Malaysian, Singaporean, and Thai.

The current report uses a dataset compiled by the CSUN Office of Institutional Research that contains detailed student information for new incoming undergraduate cohorts (first-time freshmen and new transfers) from 2009 to 20211. The dataset includes student demographics (e.g., parent education, sex, detailed ethnicity) and academic outcomes (e.g., first-year CSUN GPA, retention, academic standing). After filtering for only APIDA-identifying individuals who are not international students (F and J visas), the dataset includes 13,396 students2. Data were disaggregated by specific APIDA ethnicities as captured by the CSU system common application form (Cal State Apply)3



First-Generation Students

The aggregate race/ethnicity data depict APIDA students at CSUN as the least likely major racial/ethnic group to be a first-generation college student6. However, the disaggregated APIDA regional group data reveal substantial variation within the CSUN APIDA student population Specifically, the particularly low rate of first-generation status among Filipinx students (29.9%) - the largest APIDA group in total number - seems to be driving the overall average for APIDA students down, such that all other groups show a first-generation rate above the APIDA aggregate average (47.5%). In fact, the SEA1 group shows a first-generation rate above the campus average (78.3%). These findings align with previous research highlighting varying educational inequities (e.g., lower education degree attainment) and historical contexts (e.g., SEA1s being relatively new in the U.S. context compared to other APIDA groups) among APIDA regional subgroups.

Pell Eligibility

The disaggregated APIDA data also reveal substantial variation in Pell eligibility8 between the regional groups that would be unnoticed if only the APIDA aggregate were presented. All regional groups except FIL (39.4%) and NHPI (46.4%) have Pell eligibility proportions above the APIDA aggregate (50.7%). Both SEA1 (69.9%) and SEA2 (59.5%) students have Pell eligibility proportions above the CSUN average (56.8%). Most notably, the SEA1 region has the highest proportion of Pell-eligible students across the APIDA regional groups. These findings match up with the low-income and poverty rates found within the SEA1 community.