Top 10 MBA Programs for Social Impact
February 3, 2023Read More
April 15, 2022
According to Horning, tribal students are missing many fundamental things that most college students take for granted. Things such as electricity, internet access, and lack of prior generation college experience. On internet access, nearly one in five reservation residents do not have any internet, and approximately a third of all tribal residents lack broadband quality connectivity. Hence, access to online education and the latest technology collaboration tools is severely lacking.
There is also a large cultural divide for tribal students. Many tribal students were born and raised on the reservation or in their tribal community. There is limited interaction outside of the reservation environment and with the lack of family and relatives on the reservation with prior college experience, tribal students face culture shock when they step onto a college campus. Some compare the tribal student experience to studying abroad in a foreign country.
Additionally, Horning argues that colleges mistakenly assume tribal students will adapt to their new environments. Instead, Horning suggests providing customized support and identifying the unique challenges of tribal students. One improvement to consider is getting to know the backgrounds of typical tribal students more intimately. Many tribal students are older, with families, and delayed college until their kids were grown. They need a more flexible schedule for school while juggling job and home life responsibilities.
Finally, Horning and the University of Phoenix team established a tribal operations team that was less focused on only enrolling tribal students, but more so on the whole student experience from admissions to student life to post-graduate career. Team members act more like counselors guiding and mentoring tribal students. The results of establishing the tribal operations team are notable – University of Phoenix tribal students are now progressing through their coursework at rates eight to ten percentage points higher than the student body at large. Additionally, many tribal students graduate with little or no student loan debt due to the Tribal Strategic Alliance Agreement, which supports students with lower cost education and the option to pursue certificate or degree programs.
For a link to the full article from Inside Higher Ed, click here.