Donate! COVID-19 Emergency Relief Funding Needed

Mar 25, 2020 | Blog, Featured Post, President's Blog

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For most Americans, adequate, functioning infrastructure and technology make coronavirus-related closures bearable, even workable. In Indian country, the picture can be devastating.

The physical closure of tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) means serious disruption for the typical American Indian college student’s higher education, whose path to college is already extremely hard fought. Even under normal circumstances, Native students, their families, and whole communities are just getting by.

COVID-19 threatens to reverse years of efforts to elevate Native communities and work to eliminate food shortages, housing insecurity, and lack of economic opportunities. This outbreak threatens to magnify the disparities that Natives faced before the outbreak, devasting already vulnerable Native students and crippling their communities. The American Indian College Fund is working to lessen the impact this virus will have on Native communities, while keeping the momentum moving in the right direction—forward.

Our mission to provide access to a higher education to Native people is vital to the future of Native American communities.

How You Can Help

Education is necessary to grow and stabilize Native communities. The COVID19 has the potential to contribute to the continued shortage of healthcare workers and teachers in Native communities if their educations are disrupted, as STEM, healthcare and education degrees are the focus of 44% of Native students.

Access to online classes for many Native students if difficult at best. Most reservation communities lack widely available broadband service, and nearly 25% of Native students do not have home computers and internet access. While some professors at some TCUs have shifted to online instruction, Native students find their most reliable computers and internet connection on campus, which simply aren’t accessible now with closures. We are working with our partners to find ways to provide Native students with the tools they need to ensure their educations can go forward in this “new normal.”

Additional financial support for Native students will also be essential. Prior to the outbreak, a survey of Native students showed that more than 50% of Native students were the primary source of income for their entire families, paying for household essentials like food, gas, electricity. And 62% of Native students reported being hungry or food insecure last year, with 69% saying they were housing insecure. The financial impacts may not only derail students’ educations—it could throw them and entire families permanently into poverty.

TCUs also need support. Already known as “underfunded miracles,” TCUs are vital as the culture-bearers in Native communities while also providing essential vital support to entire communities who will need it more than ever: resources, classes and support for nutrition, new-mother/well-baby, exercise programs, and much, much more.

The College Fund is working to:


As an organization, we are laser focused on providing what students need NOW to stay in school, so they can continue to build the futures we all dream of with them and for them.

The 44% of College Fund scholars enrolled in degree programs in the medical, STEM and education disciplines are exactly what Native communities need to ensure they are less vulnerable to diseases like COVID-19 and vital to help build stronger, healthier people and communities.

The challenges resulting from the coronavirus crisis are creating unanticipated obstacles we simply must overcome. We know this battle will be hard fought as students living in reservation communities are particularly vulnerable.

For example, an interrupted food supply chain to Native communities is escalating the high levels of food insecurity experienced by students – already staggeringly high at 62%.

Also, it is extremely difficult for students to attend and succeed in online coursework when nearly 25% of Native scholars do not have access to a personal computer or Internet and 69% are housing insecure.


Donate Now


Together, we can help Native scholars overcome. Whether it be a laptop, access to healthy food or the financial resources they need to find a safe place to live, this fund will help meet the needs for students now so they can stay in school and on the paths they are determined to follow.

Over the past 30 years you’ve helped us make tremendous progress. Thanks to you we’ll continue! We wish you well, and to you and your loved ones, keep healthy and safe.

Recent Blog Posts

American Indian College Fund Develops Transfer Data Guidebook for TCUs

American Indian College Fund Develops Transfer Data Guidebook for TCUs

The American Indian College Fund (College Fund) has published a “Transfer Data Guidebook for Tribal Colleges and Universities.” The guidebook is the culmination of three years of research conducted under a $625,000 grant from the Educational Credit Management Corporation, which examined the transfer landscape of the seven Montana tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) to improve student achievement by creating a cohesive transfer system.

American Indian College Fund Partners with Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies to Enhance Native Arts Programs

American Indian College Fund Partners with Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies to Enhance Native Arts Programs

The American Indian College Fund (College Fund) announced new efforts to enhance Native arts curriculum development programs at six tribal colleges and universities (TCUs). Each of the participating TCUs will receive $100,000 to enrich their curricula by integrating Indigenous education values and incorporate Native knowledge, language, and cultural practices. The project will also help to expand institutional capacity, developing or revising academic courses, minors, and certificate and degree programs.