Education is one of the most important tools for individual and community empowerment. For native communities in this country, access to education is a critical element in their overall well-being and development. Currently, education attainment levels for American Indians are among the lowest in the country. According to the 2000 population census, only 71 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives had attained a high school diploma or higher compared to 80 percent of the entire population. Enrollment and completion levels in higher education are lower than the national average as well. These statistics are alarming and point to the need for increased investment in institutions specifically focused on the education needs of American Indians.
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