The American Indian College Fund (AICF) has received $300,000 from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation for a program assisting Native American students to graduate from high school.
The Tennessee-based foundation started the Native Students Stepping Forward program to bring high school equivalency (HSE) learning services within reach of around 400 students. The program partners with tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) near Indian reservations lacking educational services.
The award will be used to strengthen HSE enrollment, retention, and graduation rates at tribal institutions and improve adult literacy in their communities. Through the collaboration between AICF and the foundation, 257 students have graduated from HSE programs at TCUs.
Program facilitators from TCUs will assist AICF in analyzing current and future challenges and processes, determining which areas need more funding, and identifying best practices to provide learning services to Native American communities.
“The College Fund and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation share a vision of educational and career success by meeting people where they are. Their commitment to literacy and high school equivalency programming changes lives and we appreciate their investment,” AICF President and CEO Cheryl Crazy Bull said.
Native Americans in Higher Education
Native American students have been greatly impacted by the pandemic because of limited access to economic and health care services. Pursuing an education has also been difficult due to a lack of technology.
Yahoo Finance reports that college enrollment among American Indian and Alaska Native students was also negatively affected. To provide opportunities for Native communities, AICF believes that higher education must be a priority and students must complete high school in order to move forward.
“Through our partnership, we hope to continue providing opportunities for Native American students to achieve their educational goals and create bright futures for themselves, their families, and their communities,” added Denine Torr, Dollar General Literacy Foundation executive director.