Our Work

The American Indian College Fund invests in Native students and tribal college education to transform lives and communities.

The College Fund and its supporters uphold the promise and importance of educational success for Native people and all of our futures.

Recent Success (2019-2020)

6,084

Total Scholarships Distributed

3,967

Students Served

$9,254,000

Total Scholarship Support

54.8%

First Generation Students Served

Our Areas of Impact

The American Indian College Fund supports Native communities through scholarships for Native students and program funding for tribal colleges and universities. The College Fund advances strategies that create lasting and sustainable change, and that support cultural revitalization, to ensure Native communities thrive now and into the future.

Native Students

Only 14.5% of American Indians and Alaska Natives have a college degree– less than half of that of other groups (35%). The College Fund is committed to closing the equity gap in higher education by providing Native students with scholarships and holistic student supports so they can access higher education and obtain college degrees.

Only 14.5% of American Indians and Alaska Natives have a college degree– less than half of that of other groups (35%).

The College Fund is committed to closing the equity gap in higher education by providing Native students with scholarships and holistic student supports so they can access higher education and obtain college degrees.

Aspiring College Students (Pre-College)

Through our Native Pathways program and other initiatives, we are working to build a college-going culture and increase the the college-going rate among Native high school students. In 2019-20:

70

Native youth-serving organizations received funding for promotion of college-going practices to increase high school graduation rates and college enrollment.

51%

of Native Pathways High School College Choice seniors enrolled in college in fall 2019.

54%

of Native Pathways students successfully progressed to the spring term of their freshman year (2019-20). Only 19% of Native college freshman nationally stay in school during their freshman year.

Learn more about our Native Pathways program for aspiring college students.

College Students (Scholarships)

In over 30 years, we have awarded more than 137,000 scholarships and $220 million in direct student support.
In 2019-2020 the College Fund provided:

6,084

Total Scholarships Distributed

$1,779,000

Other Direct Student Support

$9,254,000

Scholarship Support

3,967

College Students Served

55%

First-Generation Scholars Served

35%

Single Parents Served

kenwa
College Fund scholars are focused on giving back to their communities. Based on our Gallup survey, 74% of tribal college alumni are employed in areas related to Native communities or tribal lands.

As a grandmother and activist, Kenwa Kravitz (Wintu) is not your typical tribal college student. But the Native Leadership Studies major at Northwest Indian College is already advocating for her community, working with city and county entities to bring about official recognition of her people and creating ground-breaking cultural curricula. Kenwa was one of the first recipients of the Wi’áasal (Great Oak) Future Leaders Scholarship for California tribal members – the largest expansion of the Full Circle Scholarship program.

Learn more about our scholarhip programs.

The College Fund supports 35 accredited TCUs in 14 states, which serve students from more than 200 tribal nations.

Tribal Colleges

Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) provide dynamic higher education opportunities, most on or near reservations, throughout Indian Country.

These accredited institutions offer vocational, two-year, four-year, postgraduate, and cultural learning opportunities tailored to support Native student success. They provide culturally relevant coursework, support Native identity, and offer important services like childcare and career advising. Collectively, TCUs help Native people obtain degrees and advance their careers so they can strengthen their communities.

Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) provide dynamic higher education opportunities, most on or near reservations, throughout Indian Country.

These accredited institutions offer vocational, two-year, four-year, postgraduate, and cultural learning opportunities tailored to support Native student success. They provide culturally relevant coursework, support Native identity, and offer important services like childcare and career advising. Collectively, TCUs help Native people obtain degrees and advance their careers so they can strengthen their communities.

We increase TCU capacity through infrastructure grants. We help grow TCUs academic programming in STEM, education, the arts, and environmental stewardship. We provide support for more holistic student services and career advising – and for faculty training – so that Native students can successfully graduate and enter into meaningful and fair-wage jobs.

$4,200,000

Program Support Distributed
(2019-2020)

600+

Student and Faculty Fellowships
(Since 2010)

100+

TCU Faculty Graduate Degrees Obtained
(since 2010)

150+

Academic and Community Programs Created or Strengthened
(since 2017)

1,100+

Total Number of STEM Graduates
(since 2010)

2000+

Total Community Members Served
(since 2017)

Where Our Scholars Study

The College Fund supports 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities with 75 campuses in 14 states, which serve students from more than 37 states and over 200 tribes. In addition to providing financial and programmatic support for 35 TCUs, the American Indian College Fund provides students with scholarships at traditional colleges and universities.

Native Communities

The College Fund is dedicated to empowering Native communities through education. Our approach foregrounds systemic change and is intergenerational, culturally relevant, and place-based.

Our support helps TCUs grow their programming, impacting far more than students, faculty, and institutions. TCUs are engines of social and economic change in the communities they serve. With College Fund support, TCUs foster community partnerships, host community workshops, and develop sustainable, location-specific programming that advances indigenous knowledge and has a lasting impact on the community.

The College Fund is dedicated to empowering Native communities through education. Our approach foregrounds systemic change and is intergenerational, culturally relevant, and place-based.

Our support helps TCUs grow their programming, impacting far more than students, faculty, and institutions. TCUs are engines of social and economic change in the communities they serve. With College Fund support, TCUs foster community partnerships, host community workshops, and develop sustainable, location-specific programming that advances indigenous knowledge and has a lasting impact on the community.

Program Focus

Cultural Sovereignty

Language revitalization

Food sovereignty

Tribal land stewardship

Health care workers educated in culturally appropriate health care

Teachers educated in culturally appropriate education

Libraries and tribal cultural archives

Economic Sovereignty

Curriculum created to serve tribal economic needs, such as land and natural resources management

Job training curriculum

Internships and mentoring programs for employable college graduates

High school equivalency

Political Sovereignty

Tribal government studies

Leadership training

Native history

American Indian law

Emergency Aid

Meeting challenges in the wake of the pandemic: coming together for native students, tribal colleges, and educators.

COVID-19 is a symptom of systemic inequity with regard to race, economics, and health, hitting Native communities hardest due to problems rooted in centuries of policy.

Currently, 44% of Native students major in science/technology/engineering/math (STEM), healthcare, and education. Our Native communities need them to graduate and enter the workforce more than ever.

Prior to the pandemic, the College Fund was already working hard to close the college attainment gap. Compared to 31.5% of the overall population, only 14.5% of American Indian and Alaska Native people age 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Meeting Challenges in the Wake of the Pandemic

COVID-19 is a symptom of systemic inequity with regard to race, economics, and health, hitting Native communities hardest due to problems rooted in centuries of policy.

Currently, 44% of Native students major in science/technology/engineering/math (STEM), healthcare, and education. Our Native communities need them to graduate and enter the workforce more than ever.

Prior to the pandemic, the College Fund was already working hard to close the college attainment gap. Compared to 31.5% of the overall population, only 14.5% of American Indian and Alaska Native people age 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus, Native student populations already faced significant challenges with basic needs.

The Tribal Colleges and Universities #RealCollegeSurvey report of tribal college students, conducted in partnership with the College Fund by The Hope Center in 2019 noted:

62%

of respondents were
food insecure in the prior 30 days.

69%

were housing
insecure in the previous year.

30%

were homeless
in the previous year.

The pandemic exacerbated these existing needs, and during March and April 2020, the College Fund provided:

$1.2 Million

in emergency aid stipends to students
to meet needs and help them stay in
school.

1,550

personal computers distributed for
online course access.

$700,000

to Tribal Colleges for conversion to
online learning and emergency aid
programs.

Pandemic Relief for All TCUs

$2.42 Million in monetary and in-kind donations distributed to all 35 accredited TCUs for pandemic relief to provide everything students need to stay in school and keep on track to complete their educations.

Ways Donations Are Being Used

We funded computers and tablets, modems, wireless hot spots, wireless service, phone cards, food, housing, medicine, health care, and faculty training to transition to online instruction.

How Your Donations Are Used:
Fullfilling Our Mission

 

For more than 30 years, the American Indian College Fund has been committed to transparency and accountability while serving our students, tribal colleges, and communities. We consistently receive top ratings from independent charity evaluators.

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Scholarships, Programs, and Public Education
72.08%*
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Administration
4.55%*
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Fundraising
23.37%*
Scholarships, Programs, and
Public Education
72.08%*
Administration
4.55%*
Fundraising
23.37%*

Reports and Success

2019-2020 Impact Report

Read about how we met our students’ and TCUs’ needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Annual Report: Our Community Is Our Strength

Read more about the College Fund’s impact across Native Communities in our 2019-2020 Annual Report.

Student Impact Report

In 2019-20, the College Fund provided more than $9 million in scholarships to nearly 4,000 American Indian students.

Creating visibility and healthy learning environments for Native Americans in higher education: Declaration of Native purpose in higher education

Creating Visibility and Healthy Learning Environments for Native Americans in Higher Education

Read about how we create visibility and healthy learning environments for Native people in higher education

The Tribal Colleges and Universities #RealCollege Survey

Native American students studying at tribal colleges and universities located in remote, rural, reservation communities experienced food and housing insecurity and homelessness at much greater rates than other college students

https://collegefund.org/pdf/Gallup_Report_Final_8-1-19

Gallup Report: Alumni of Tribal Colleges and Universities Better Their Communities

Tribal initiatives have made college campuses in Native communities a reality, improving American Indian post-secondary education options