College Fund Research

A pathway to college success: Reverse transfer as a means to move forward among the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois)

June 1, 2016

This article examines the reverse transfer behavior—transfer from a four-year institution to a two-year institution—of Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) college graduates as a forward moving process toward four-year degree completion. Integration (Tinto, 1993), involvement (Astin, 1984), the Family Education Model (HeavyRunner & DeCelles, 2002), and Tribal Critical Race Theory (Brayboy, 2005) help explain this behavior. The community college enabled participants to live in their Native community to regroup, find support, and clarify goals. Participants left the four-year institution for personal or relationship reasons, because they did not take college seriously or lacked career goals, because they became socially engaged in situations that resulted in academic issues, and, for one of them, to take a semester break to recharge spiritually. Participants transferred to a two-year institution to improve grades, to complete the four-year degree, and to gain skills/be taken seriously. Findings support the reverse transfer literature offering a positive perspective and cultural context to this college pathway.

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