ERIC Number: ED343771
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
American Indian and Alaska Native Higher Education: Toward a New Century of Academic Achievement and Cultural Integrity.
This paper reviews the history of higher education for Native Americans and proposes change strategies. Assimilation was the primary goal of higher education from early colonial times to the 20th century. Tribal response ranged from resistance to support of higher education. When the Federal Government began to dominate Native education in the late 19th century, the emphasis on higher education gave way to vocational training. The New Deal of the 1930s renewed government support for Native higher education. Native enrollment increased dramatically, but, nevertheless, was only one percent of the Native population by 1966. A shift to Native control of education was marked by the development of 24 tribally controlled community colleges. Enrollment growth leveled off during the 1980s, and Native Americans remain among the least educated ethnic groups in the nation. Low enrollment rates and high attrition rates contribute to low college graduation rates and even lower rates of participation in graduate programs. Most Native college students attend public institutions, and over half attend two-year colleges. Less than half attend fulltime. Native participation in higher education is inhibited by persistent barriers to access, retention, and graduation, such as: inadequate academic preparation, insufficient financial support, unsupportive institutional climate, lack of Native role models, and cultural influences on student adjustment. Strategies to improve conditions for Native higher education include federal programs for disadvantaged students, private training and financial aid programs, formation of cultural centers and support groups on campuses, and collaboration with Native communities. This paper contains 38 references. (SV)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Department of Education, Washington, DC. Indian Nations At Risk Task Force.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Indian Nations At Risk Task Force Commissioned Papers. See RC 018 612.