Making The American Dream A Reality for Native Students
Many people see a college education as the path to achieving the ‘American dream’ – unfortunately, having the motivation and the academic intelligence to attend college is often not enough. The average cost of a college education in the U.S. is upward of $25,000 a year and seems insurmountable for many hopeful students.
Obtaining a college education is even more of a challenge for Native Americans, who hold the lowest bachelor’s degree attainment level of any racial group, 15% according to the U.S. Census Bureau and through no fault of their own. Even after they are accepted for college admission, many Native students cannot afford the cost of tuition and wind up declining the acceptance letter. And for those who do find the means to pay for the cost of college, they still face the added challenges of culture shock, academic expectations, lack of access to digital resources and ongoing financial strains.
Although daunting, PWNA’s American Indian Education Fund (AIEF) program works to combat these challenges by supporting education at every stage, from fostering educational engagement at a young age to eliminating barriers down the road. AIEF’s work is driven by helping Native students get to college and walk across the stage on graduation day, with a degree in hand and an opportunity for a brighter future.
AIEF supports college students through scholarship awards as well as mentorship and encouragement, giving students far away from home a trusted source they can rely on to help them navigate college. We’re proud to say that 90-95% of AIEF scholarship recipients complete their first year of college, considerably higher than the national average.
We received hundreds of scholarship applications in 2021 and hope to award as many students as possible with the funds they need for their American dream. Earning a degree is a significant milestone for many Americans but holds even greater meaning within Native families that have spent generations being all but invisible to the wider public.
Though every AIEF scholar emerges a new leader, changemaker and supporter who can inspire others in their Tribal communities to follow suit and pursue their own dreams, we can only support their vital potential for positive change with the support of our donors and Tribal partners.
We hope you’ll donate to help Native students through PWNA and our AIEF program this year.