For Laotian Americans and other refugees from Southeast Asia rebuilding our lives in the US, this is particularly important for the long-term success of our communities.
In a 2006 study by the Asian American Justice Center, research indicates that in education, Lao in Minnesota lag behind at least seven other Twin City Asian American groups: Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Korean, Asian Indian, Filipino and the Japanese.
Compared to all Twin City adults, only 17% of Lao adults have a 2-year college degree or better compared to 43% of all Twin City adults. Further, 42% of Lao adults have less than a high school education. Compare this to just 9% of all Twin City adults. There are many factors that go into this.
Helping these students to maintain their grades, find financing and more importantly, to stay in college effectively, with both a short-term and long-term strategy for success should matter to our community. While it is possible to succeed in life without a college degree, it's not a particularly easier route.
The University of Maryland Asian American Studies department, JACL, OCA and State Farm Insurance worked together recently to put together a director of scholarship opportunities across the US that are particularly good for Asian American students to apply to: http://www.aast.umd.edu/APIA-ScholarshipDirectory.pdf
Some of these scholarships have deadlines as soon as February, so it's important to start writing those applications now. If you know students who are interested in applying for college this is an important time to start looking at the scholarships available to them. Good luck!