Education | Opinion

Opinion: Tribal colleges awarded grant to boost student retention

"Ilisagvik College in Barrow, Ala., was one of four tribal colleges selected by the Walmart Foundation to receive a two-year grant aimed at improving retention and graduation rates in minority students. Now past the middle mark of the grant, Ilisagvik is instituting a series of actions to improve its graduation rates and student support programs.

The grant is a collaborative effort with the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), the Walmart Foundation, and a variety of minority-serving institutions. It recognizes the unique needs of minority students and aims to help institutions serving them to come up with creative and proven solutions to retention challenges. The grant partners Ilisagvik with the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The institute serves as mentor for collaboration and knowledge sharing around retention and student success.

"The mentor/mentee relationship between Ilisagvik and the institute has been an excellent catalyst for the college to look deeply at the support services we provide to students and identify areas where we are strong, and areas where we have room for improvement," commented Ilisagvik's Walmart Grant Project Director, Persistence and Retention Facilitator Jeminie Shell. "Our goal is to integrate our student support efforts across all areas of campus; in essence, to build a boat that will help buoy students through the challenges of college, and carry them on their journey through college and life.""

Get the Story:
Elise Patkota: Walmart Grant and Tribal College Partnership support student retention at Ilisagvik College (The Arctic Sounder 6/30)

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