In 1973, the first six American Indian tribally controlled colleges established the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) to provide a support network as they worked to influence federal policies on American Indian higher education. Today, AIHEC has grown to 37 Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) in the United States. Each of these institutions was created and chartered by its own tribal government or the federal government for a specific purpose: to provide higher education opportunities to American Indians through programs that are locally and culturally based, holistic, and supportive.
Through AIHEC, our colleges continue to work together to influence policy and build programs in all facets of higher education. They receive technical assistance in key areas; network with one another, federal agencies, other institutions, and potential partners; mentor new institutions; and plan new initiatives to address evolving areas of need.
AIHEC provides leadership and influences public policy on American Indian higher education issues through advocacy, research, and program initiatives; promotes and strengthens Indigenous languages, cultures, communities, and tribal nations; and through its unique position, serves member institutions and emerging TCUs.
AIHEC activities are supported by member dues, grants and contracts. AIHEC is a 501(c)(3) organization governed by a board of directors, which is composed of the presidents of the accredited United States-based TCUs. The board elects from its membership an executive committee to oversee the activities of the collective body and the AIHEC staff.