"Since the 1930s, more than 30 native-controlled higher education institutions have been created," said Betty Overton, the Kellogg Foundation's coordinator for higher education programs.
"They have been incredibly successful and learned to combine native culture and values with a quality education."
said, about 75 percent of all Indian college students are still enrolled at majority institutions.Many of these schools have also developed successful, new teaching methods for reaching Native American students.
"With this initiative, we want to create coalitions that can share and promote these improvements," Overton
said."On a national level, we want to increase academic success and access to education for native students." Overton
said the Foundation initiative will operate in two phases.
During phase one, 29 tribal colleges will receive $30,000 planning grants.During this 18-month "visioning" period, the tribal colleges will work jointly with the National Institute for Native Leadership in Higher Education
(NINLHE) to create a shared vision of how to work effectively to improve educational opportunities for Native students.
The NINLHE's membership includes 30 to 40 mainstream colleges and universities that serve Native students.Through a $150,000 Foundation grant, NINLHE members will develop new ideas for potential projects, and lay the groundwork for future partnerships.Foundation grants awarded during phase one of the initiative will total $1.51 million.
"At this point, the Foundation will look at the pieces of the vision," Overton
said."We'll begin funding projects that address the important issues identified by the working groups."
To formally begin the initiative, the Foundation will host a networking conference in Polson, Montana, on August 28-31.Participants in the initiative will send representatives to attend the event.
To date, Native American Higher Education Initiative grant recipients include: