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This chapter draws on an extensive literature review to examine factors that influence the access and achievement of American Indians and Alaska Natives in higher education. American Indians are less likely to attend college than other U.S. ethnic groups. This underrepresentation is partly due to precollege attributes: low scores on college admissions tests, relatively low completion of high school core curriculum requirements, and failure to meet other college admissions criteria. Other, perhaps more important, influences on American Indian postsecondary access are school and environmental attributes: lack of qualified Native educators, lack of culturally relevant curriculum, poverty, and family problems. Once in college, American Indians are more likely than other students to attend a 2-year college and are underrepresented among those who have completed a bachelor's degree. Native graduation and persistence rates are also consistently lower than those of the general student population. To promote satisfactory transition from high school to college, governments and colleges must promote K-16 partnerships with tribal communities to elevate the overall level of precollege academic preparation and postsecondary aspirations of American Indian students. Culturally-specific academic and student support services, mentoring programs, and sufficient financial aid are needed once the student gets into college. Tribal colleges are exemplary in developing recruitment, retention, and supportive campus environments, and many non-Indian institutions have also strived to meet the needs of Native students and communities. Contains tables, and endnotes and 71 references. (TD)

Descriptors: Access to Education, Alaska Natives, American Indian Education, American Indians, College Attendance, College Bound Students, College Preparation, College Students, Culturally Relevant Education, Educational Attainment, Educational Environment, Higher Education, School Holding Power, Student College Relationship, Tribally Controlled Education

Autor: Pavel, D. Michael


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