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Native American Higher Education

The experiences of Native Americans in seeking higher education are often fraught with barriers to success, including access, economics, and cultural differences, but more and more Native Americans are enrolling at colleges across the U.S. According to Change, as of 1986, ôOver 90,000 Native Americans were enrolled at a variety of colleges,ö an 18 percent increased over a decade before (Native, 1990, p. 27). More recent data show that although Native Americans traditionally have low rates of participation in higher education, in 1997 they ôincreased the number of associate and baccalaureate degrees earned by 7.3 and 7.2 percent respectivelyö (Chenowith, 1998, p. 20). Despite numerous barriers to higher education, community colleges often remove such barriers for Native Americans. This essay will discuss these barriers to education and how community colleges and other initiatives help undermine them for Native Americans.

Community colleges often remove some of the barriers that plague Native Americans seeking higher education. One barrier stems from low high school graduation rates for Native American, 40 percent have not graduated from high school (Native, 1990, p. 28). When they do attend schools, Native Americans often receive their education in impoverished school districts. The poor quality of education leaves them unprepared for college-level work. Community colleges often offer a less-rigorous curriculum intended to ease students into college-level work. Another barrier is the lack of federal aid for Native Americans, an amount that lags behind African Americans and Hispanics. Community colleges are often significantly less expensive than traditional colleges and universities. The cultural differences between tribal life and campus culture leaves many Native Americans feeling isolated and without mentors. Mankiller (1991) argues that community college counselors must use particular skills with Native Americans,...

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Native American Higher Education. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 01:38, March 22, 2019, from