The American Indian College Fund will create pathways to college for Native American youth to improve access to college, thanks to a $2.4 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The three-year, three-pronged program, called The Native Pathways to College Project, will begin June 1st of this year.
Through the College Admissions Pathways component of the program, the College Fund will work to increase the number of American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) junior and senior high school students who consider college as an option, increasing their financial readiness for colleges, guiding them through the admissions process, and easing their transition to college.
The Transfer Pathways component of the program will support the successful transfer of students attending two-year tribal colleges to four-year institutions.
Finally, the Pathways Bridge Programs will increase admissions testing and college readiness of high school students through academic preparedness strategies delivered by the tribal colleges.
The College Fund will work through partnerships with reservation-based high schools and the tribal colleges in designing and implementing the programs for students and their families, while also identifying mainstream colleges and universities that wish to increase the diversity of their student body by increasing AIAN student presence at their institutions.
Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “We are so honored at the College Fund to partner with our tribal colleges and with Native high schools to build a college-going climate for our Native students. Our commitment to Native students achieving post-secondary education is strengthened by our focus on responding to students and families where they are at in their educational journey. We deeply appreciate and are pleased that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation shares our vision of college attainment for Native students.”
Armando I. Bengochea, Program Officer at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation said, “The project of improving college-going rates and transfer rates for AIAN students is extremely important to the nation and the best hope we have of growing the number of college graduates. The Mellon Foundation recognizes the unique importance, credibility and capacity of the College Fund to be able to tackle this problem in the most strategic way.”