Student Success Stories

“My college experience is one of the most positive, memorable times in my life. The staff and faculty were very encouraging and supportive of the efforts put forth by the students.”

—graduate, Sitting Bull College

AIHEC Literature Review – Pathway to Post Secondary Success for Native Students

This document presents AIHEC’s research framework providing an underlying structure or model to support research efforts in AIAN higher education. The rationale for this research framework is threefold. First, there are very few exemplar research studies in higher education with a significant sample size of AIAN data. Second, the term “research” is used in common vernacular to include work that may be conceived as purposeful but is not grounded in Indigenous critical thinking: this includes work that is conceived by “outsiders” who use Western tools to shape Indigenous practice. By creating AIHEC’s research framework, we have the potential to shape policy by focusing our approach and methods on Native Ways of Knowing. Third, this research framework allows scholars to prioritize the data that helps create evidence-based decision-making for educators of AIAN students. The framework creates an intentional, shared taxonomy, which describes various modes/types of research that is specific to AIAN higher education needs. By adopting this research framework, we structure, coordinate, and communicate potential research efforts to optimize success for Native students. 

Student Success at Tribal Colleges and Universities: Strategies that Work

The United States recognizes that the need to increase retention and graduation rates in some of the most impoverished and disenfranchised communities, including Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) and other minority serving colleges (MSIs), is one of the greatest single challenges facing American higher education. With support from the Walmart Foundation to address retention and student success at TCUs and other MSIs, the Alliance for Higher Education used a mentor-mentee relationship between these participating TCUs: Iḷisaġvik College (Barrow, AK), Institute of American Indian Arts (Santa Fe, NM), Fort Peck Community College (Poplar, MT), Leech Lake Tribal College (Cass Lake, MN), Sitting Bull College (Fort Yates, ND), and Stone Child College (Box Elder, MT). The Student Success monograph illustrates some of the success strategies identified and implemented by the participating TCUs. REPORT –>

Breaking Through Tribal Colleges and Universities

The Breaking Through Initiative briefing paper examines the prospects for TCUs to enhance services to tribal people through implementation of the Breaking Through model for accelerated learning and career preparation. The paper discusses some factors that impact the education of American Indian students, the role of the nation’s TCUs, the cultural uniqueness of American Indian communities, and the Breaking Through strategies within the context of challenges faced by TCUs.

The Breaking Through model focuses on adults with limited reading and math skills and provides them with the education and training needed to become successfully employed. Four Breaking Through strategies that have proven effective at 40 mainstream community colleges hold great promise for TCUs: Accelerated Learning, Comprehensive Support Services, Labor Market Payoffs, and Aligning Programs. REPORT–>

Building the Foundation for Success, Case Studies of Breaking Through Tribal Colleges and Universities

Tribal colleges Breaking Through, a partnership of Jobs for the Future, the National Council for Workforce Education, and the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, focused on piloting workforce and education strategies to better serve low-skilled students at tribal colleges. Six institutions participated—Comanche Nation College, Leech Lake Tribal College, Little Big Horn College, Northwest Indian College, Salish Kootenai College, and Sitting Bull College—with each establishing two or more cohorts of GED or workforce students and incorporating the four Breaking Through core strategies. The colleges also joined the national Breaking Through network of colleges and attended semiannual peer learning meetings designed to further promote effective approaches for academically underprepared students. REPORT–>

Creating Role Models for Change: A Survey of Tribal College Graduates

An in-depth look at TCU graduates and information on their experiences as
former TCU students and what they are doing with their
educations after graduation. REPORT–>