A New Look at College Affordability for Indigenous Students

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A group of scholarship providers for Native American students on Wednesday released a report detailing their first national study on college affordability for Indigenous students. Researchers surveyed 1,607 current and 1,182 former scholarship recipients in 2020 and conducted interviews and sharing circles with 96 current and former students in 2021 to gain a better understanding of their financial barriers.

The study found that 72 percent of current students surveyed reported they had run out of money at least once in the last six months, and 67 percent said they were responsible for helping with family bills. Half of all participants reported choosing where to go to college based on overall cost of attendance.

The report, funded by the Lumina Foundation, was a collaboration between four Native American scholarship providers: the American Indian College Fund, the Native Forward Scholars Fund, the Cobell Scholarship and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.

“We want the American public and policymakers to understand the unique barriers faced by Native students as they pursue their education dreams,” Cheryl Crazy Bull, president and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said in a press release. “These barriers can be removed through continued investment via scholarships, tuition support, and supportive partnerships. This study provides a foundation from which to explore those investments.”