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Braided Success: Fostering Native Student Success from High School to College and Career program will link with Tohono O’odham Community College to help foster students enrolling in higher education. Courtesy photo

Charity Offering Native Student Scholarships and College Readiness Programs to Increase Number of Native Americans With A Higher Education

DENVER — The American Indian College Fund (College Fund) has received a $350,000 contribution from AT&T to continue its “Braided Success: Fostering Native Student Success from High School to College and Career” program.

The Braided Success program helps fund high school and college students in the Tohono O’odham Community College in Sells, Ariz. and the College of Muscogee Nation in Okmulgee, Okla. to achieve their quest for higher education.

AT&T’s contribution will also allow the College Fund to contribute $100,000 to the Braided Success program, providing scholarship support to American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) students from Oklahoma and Arizona seeking to attend a tribal college (TCU) or mainstream institution located in their home states.

“AT&T is on the leading edge of engaging best practices supporting career pathways for indigenous students through its support of the College Fund’s student success programming. This partnership builds on our shared vision of helping students achieve their dreams,” Cheryl Crazy Bull, president and CEO of the American Indian College Fund said.

The highly successful program, in its first three years, allowed the College of Muscogee Nation to partner with three local high schools, which offered three dual enrollment programs. Of the 157 Native high school student participants, 33 percent took college courses through the dual-enrollment program. Participants also enjoyed college visits.

Similarly, Tohono O'odham Community College partnered with two local high schools to launch its S.T.A.R.T. program—Students Thriving, Achieving, and Rising Together. Thirty-eight percent of all partner high school students are served by S.T.A.R.T., and of that number, 42 percent of the students participated in the dual-enrollment program with the community college. Students also enjoyed after-school programs and tutoring sessions.

The result was that students who participated in the TCU’s programs graduated from high school at rates more than 20 percent higher than Native Americans nationally.

By continuing the strong relationships forged between college the high schools and TCUs, the Braiding Success initiative also better prepares students who transition to college for an easier transition to higher education and employment.

“AT&T has a long history of supporting initiatives that help Native American students graduate from high school and succeed in college and career,” said Tom Brooks, vice president of external affairs, AT&T. “We’re proud to further our commitment to Native communities with this contribution and connect Native youth to educational pathways that lead to careers in the 21st century workforce.”

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