Dean Chavers: Indian student dropout epidemic continues in US

"Indian students who want to go to college have an unlimited amount of possibility. If they study hard and get good grades, they can attend any college or university in the United States, including the Ivy Leagues. Unfortunately, few high school counselors and teachers are telling them that. Fifty percent of Indian students drop out of high school. I often wonder if the racist attitudes of school people will ever change. It has not in my lifetime, which is almost three-quarters of a century now.

It seems to me that counselors have three different functions—counseling, discipline, and career preparation. The first two take so much time that they only once in a while get to the third one. Counselors who have to deal with absenteeism, students who have been suspended for bad behavior, and the like—all the negative things—are in the wrong position to help students prepare for college or vocational school, the positive outcomes.

Only 17 percent of Indian students go on to college from high school. And since 50 percent of these high school students drop out before graduation, only 8.5 percent of Indian students enter college. This compares to 70 percent nationally. Thus Indian enrollment in college is only 12 percent of non-Indian enrollment. And 82 percent of these Indian college students drop out before they graduate from college; they never earn a degree. For every Indian college graduate per unit of population, there are 30 non-Indian graduates. And the gap has been getting larger over the past 40 years, not smaller."

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Dean Chavers: The Myth of Indian Scholarships and the Native Dropout Epidemic (Indian Country Today 6/16)

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