American Indian College Fund Names Five Tribal College Participants for $2.4 Million Cultivating Native College Student Success Program
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Native american female student with group of other international students outdoor on campus of unniversity

In order to remain sustainable, tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) located on or near Indian reservations, must recruit, complete enrollment, retain and graduate Native American students. TCUs provide affordable access to a higher education for Native students, but to build sustainable tribal communities through education, those students must also graduate. The American Indian College Fund selected five tribal colleges and universities to participate in its new 30-month Cultivating Native College Student Success Program to increase TCUs’ capacity to better recruit and work with students while increasing their sustainability as higher education institutions in the process.

Five TCUs were chosen to participate in a program that represent a diverse group of institutions with different sizes, program scopes, and program stages to create a cohort for cross-institutional support and to develop a community of practice around strategic enrollment and staff implementation strategies.

The five TCUs selected include:
• Oglala Lakota College, Kyle, South Dakota
• United Tribes Technical College, Bismarck, North Dakota
• Stone Child College, Box Elder, Montana
• Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College, Hayward, Wisconsin
• Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, Montana

Kelly LaChance
Kelly LaChance

The American Indian College Fund hired Kelly LaChance (a citizen of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz and descendant from the Dakubetede of Southern Oregon and the Northern California and Southern Oregon Shasta Nation) to manage the program. Ms. LaChance has devoted her education and career to American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN) education with a focus on student success. Prior to joining the College Fund, she served as an Education Director and Education Specialist for two federally recognized tribes. She also served on the AIAN Advisory committee to the Oregon Department of Education, concurrently served as a Tribal Advisory Council member at three universities in AIAN student services and programming, and additionally worked as the Assistant Program Director for the AIAN teacher program at the University of Oregon. Ms. LaChance holds a bachelor’s degree from Southern Oregon University and a master’s degree in adult education and training from Colorado State University. She is currently completing a doctor of education degree in educational methodology, policy, and leadership from the University of Oregon.

About the American Indian College Fund – Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 30 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided $7.72 million in scholarships to 3,900 American Indian students in 2018-19, with nearly 137,000 scholarships and community support totaling over $221.8 million since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit collegefund.org.

Affordable, Culturally Relevant Tribally Chartered Institutions Help Native American Students Launch Careers
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American Indian College Fund

Education has been heralded as the “great equalizer,” but today only 14% of Native Americans in the United States ages 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher—less than half of that of other groups.

The key to eliminating this disparity may be tribal colleges and universities (TCUs)— affordable, accredited, culturally relevant higher education institutions chartered by tribes serving Native students on or near Indian reservations. American Indian college graduates who attended TCUs enjoy significant benefits over college students attending other academic institutions, according to a new American Indian College Fund and Gallup survey report titled Alumni of Tribal Colleges and Universities Better Their Communities.

The report shows TCU graduates are creating a unique and community-focused life after graduation, outpacing the efforts of graduates from mainstream academic institutions, as well as possible reasons for that, in the following ways:

TCU graduates are giving back to their communities. Seventy-four percent of TCU graduates surveyed say they have forged careers serving their communities and societies. More than half report a deep interest in the work they do in careers that serve their communities such as education, healthcare, social services, and more. Perhaps because of the ability to do work that they find meaningful, more than half of TCU graduates report they are deeply interested in the work they do (53%) and half (50%) say they have the opportunity to do work that interests them, compared to 38% and 37% of college graduates nationally.

TCU graduates received greater support in college. TCU graduates (43%) are more than twice as likely as American Indian/Alaska Native graduates of non-TCUs (21%) and college graduates nationally (18%) to recall experiencing three critical support measures in college: having a professor who cared about them as a person, having a professor who made them excited about learning, and having a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams. TCU graduates outpace non-TCU American Indian/Alaska Native graduates in all three measures, with the gap between TCU and non-TCU graduates the widest for having professors who cared about them as people (59% vs. 33%, respectively).

TCU graduates are more likely to be debt-free. TCU graduates are more likely to state their education was worth the cost—67% as opposed to 39% of college graduates nationally. Only 3% of TCU graduates took student loans as compared to 19% of students nationally, leaving them debt free as they pursue their preferred careers after graduation. Lack of debt also has a positive impact on college graduates’ financial well-being and that of their families.

TCU graduates are thriving in all aspects of well-being. TCU graduates report nearly twice as much as graduates nationwide that they are thriving financially, socially, and in their communities and careers.

Tribal colleges and universities are geographically and culturally diverse but share common goals such as integrating cultural values and connection to land into curriculum and pedagogy while emphasizing community outreach and education that is rooted in tribal identity and practice. In 2017, over 11% of American Indian students studying at a U.S. two-or four-year public or private not-for-profit postsecondary institution attended one of the 35 accredited TCUs.

Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “All of us who have worked with tribal colleges and universities since their founding in 1968 recognized that these place-based, culturally-rooted institutions transformed lives and communities. Through the support of Strada Education Network and a partnership with Gallup, we are able to provide the data to back this up. Our graduates tell the story of our success as tribal institutions. More support for tribal colleges and universities would expand this transformative experience to more Native and rural citizens.”

The Alumni of Tribal Colleges and Universities Better Their Communities survey report is the result of a survey of 5,000 American Indian College Fund scholars to gather information about the value of an education rooted in Native American values. The survey was funded by a grant to the American Indian College Fund by the Strada Education Network.

To download a copy of the report, please visit https://collegefund.org/inside-the-college-fund/gallup-american-indian-college-fund-survey-report-tcu-alumni-outperform-other-college-graduates-affordable-culturally-relevant-tribally-chartered-institutions-help-students-launch-community-caree.

About the American Indian College Fund—Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 30 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided 5,896 scholarships last year totaling $7.65 million to American Indian students, with more than 131,000 scholarships and community support totaling over $200 million since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit collegefund.org.

American Indian College Fund Awards More Than $17K of “Think Indian” Grants to Support the Vibrancy of Native American Students Nationwide
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The American Indian College Fund’s “Think Indian” Community Awareness program awarded seven non-profit, accredited colleges and universities with $2,500 grants to promote the vibrancy of Native American students, scholarship, and communities.

The American Indian College Fund’s “Think Indian” Community Awareness program awarded seven non-profit, accredited colleges and universities with $2,500 grants to promote the vibrancy of Native American students, scholarship, and communities.

“Think Indian” was originally created in 2009 as a public awareness campaign to promote the American Indian College Fund and the contributions Native American scholars make to our world. The “Think Indian” campaign was renewed in 2018 to promote the American Indian College Fund’s scholarship and support programs for Native students. The “Think Indian” Community Awareness Grants will support specific efforts of Native-serving colleges and universities, helping them better raise awareness and connect with students and tribal communities.

The following seven higher institutions were awarded grants under the program:

Idaho State University (ISU) – ISU will hold its Bengal Warrior Bootcamp July 25-26, 2019, engaging students in physical and educational challenges. Participants from the Shoshone-Bannock Tribal community will participate in two days of college preparatory workshops and obstacle course drills to prepare them for the future.

Redlands University – Redlands’ Native Student Programs will bring students and community members together this summer to create a mural to inspire Native people to seek higher education. Prospective students will write essays about what it means to “Think Indian” and share their thoughts at a ceremony unveiling this art project.

College of Menominee Nation (CMN) – CMN will reach out to the thousands of attendees of the Menominee Pageant at their annual powwow contest. They will highlight profiles of exceptional Native students and scholarship opportunities in the pageant program and distribute “Think Indian” pageant shirts to further raise awareness.

George Washington University (GWU) – GWU’s Center for Indigenous Politics and Policy will create an indigenous guide to D.C., including a walking tour map and associated mobile application. The guide will highlight sites of importance to Native people throughout our Nation’s capital. GWU will raise general awareness of the tool and incorporate it into their pre-college preparatory program for Native students.

Leech Lake Tribal College (LLTC) – LLTC will implement a multi-platform promotion of the college and scholarship opportunities throughout the summer, inviting prospective students to “Think Indian: Come Find Your Place.” Using targeting info from a community needs survey, they will launch social media posts, flyers, advertisements and banners – creating new content to better reach their audience.

New Mexico State University (NMSU) – NMSU hosts a Dreamkeepers Summer Enrichment Program June 16-28, 2019, for Native American high school students in New Mexico. Student participants will create a landmark mural in Las Cruces, celebrating Native American vibrancy and resiliency. And Native hip-hop artist Tall Paul will deliver an inspirational speech and perform a free concert for their community.

White Earth Tribal and Community College (WETCC) – WETCC will host a Boarding School Awareness Campaign and Healing Event in August to educate and provide a space where Native Americans of all generations can recover from the brutal effects of colonization. WETCC will create a traveling art exhibit, communicating the timeline of boarding schools’ impact – and will host a healing ceremony with a meal and a screening of Iron Horse, a documentary about boarding schools.

About the American Indian College Fund—Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 30 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided 5,896 scholarships last year totaling $7.65 million to American Indian students, with more than 131,000 scholarships and community support totaling over $200 million since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit collegefund.org.

American Indian College Fund to Continue College Access and Success Program with $2.5 Million, Three-Year Grant
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Native American and Alaska Native students are in a college-going and completion crisis.

Research shows the national rate of all students going to college within six months of graduation after high school is 70%. For Native American and Alaska Native students, those numbers are closer to 20%.

The American Indian College Fund knows that education improves the lives of individuals, their families, and entire communities, yet scholarships are not enough for student success. It needed to create a college-going culture with prospective students to ensure the transition to college and support them while in college. Thanks to a $2.5 million grant renewal for 36 months from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the College Fund will continue its work to increase college access and success through the College Fund’s Native Pathways to College Program .

The College Fund’s Pathways program is divided into four components working with students. The High School Admissions Pathway program works to increase the college-going rate of Native Pathways participants closer to the national college going rate. The College Bridge Pathway works to bring Tribal College and Universities (TCUs) and area high schools together to help prepare students for the academic and social environments at college. The Tribal College Transfer Pathway aims to increase the retention rate of TCU students, increase the number of TCU graduates, and increase the number TCU graduates transferring to a four-year institution. The Student Success Pathway will support successful transition and increase retention of students who transition into a new institution of higher education.

The program will continue its work in broadening a college culture and college completion at more schools across the nation, with the goal of working with 90 reservation-based high schools and 30 TCUs in 11 states, impacting approximately 16,000 students. The College Fund will provide training materials and will work with students, staff, and community members on college access workshops, coaching, and events.

Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “The College Fund and the Andrew Mellon Foundation share a vision of equity that emerges when young people see themselves as having an education that leads to a better life. Engaged, active citizenship rooted in Native identity is our goal. We know that all of society benefits from healthy communities, diverse knowledge, and improved economies. We are pleased that the Andrew. W. Mellon Foundation looks beyond the academy to the future of our society in our youth.”

About the American Indian College Fund

Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 30 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided 5,896 scholarships last year totaling $7.65 million to American Indian students, with more than 131,000 scholarships and community support totaling over $200 million since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit collegefund.org .

 

 

 

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