Lola & Rob Salazar Student Wellness Center with flowers in the front.

CU Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus becomes first Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution in the Rocky Mountain Region

May 26, 2023

CU Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus has become the first institution in the Rocky Mountain region to be recognized by the federal government as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI). This designation leads to opportunities to help bolster programs aimed at student success. These campuses will be eligible to apply for federal grants only available to institutions with this designation. 
To obtain the AANAPISI designation, an institution must have an enrollment of undergraduate students that is at least 10 percent Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander (AAPI) and meet other requirements based on Pell Grant-eligible students and have what the U.S. Department of Education considers low educational costs. Native American Pacific Islanders are defined as descendants of the Aboriginal people of American islands in the Pacific Ocean (Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands). Based on Spring 2022 enrollment, when CU submitted the request, AAPI students made up 14 percent of its dual campus undergraduate enrollment.   
In addition to the receiving the designation, the Department of Education has awarded CU $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

The attainment of AANAPISI, which happens to fall during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, comes after nearly two years of significant work by the campus AANAPISI Operational Team.

What People are Saying:

We are delighted to become the only university in the Rocky Mountain region to earn this important AANAPISI designation, which will allow us to boost our student success programs. We look forward to applying for additional grants that will make CU Denver even more welcoming and supportive of students from all backgrounds.

–CU Denver Chancellor Michelle Marks

This recognition as an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution proves CU-Denver is committed to equity. Closing the diversity gap doesn’t just happen overnight – but equipping all students with the financial and educational tools they need to be successful will help us get there.

–Senator John Hickenlooper

For fifty years, CU Denver has connected students from diverse backgrounds with a high-quality education and pathways to meaningful careers. This recognition is the culmination of a decades-long effort to improve opportunities for API students in Colorado. With it, CU Denver will be able to build on its success and further expand support for students from every background.

–Senator Michael Bennet

About the University of Colorado Denver
The University of Colorado Denver is the state’s premier public urban research university and equity-serving institution. Globally connected and locally invested, CU Denver partners with future-focused learners and communities to design accessible, relevant, transformative educational experiences for every stage of life and career. Across seven schools and colleges in the heart of downtown Denver, our leading faculty inspires and works alongside students to solve complex challenges through boundary-breaking innovation and impactful research, and creative work. As part of the state’s largest university system, CU Denver is a major contributor to the Colorado economy, with 2,000 employees and an annual economic impact of $800 million. For more information, visit