Denver, Colorado, September 29, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – The Dollar General Literacy Foundation continues to work with the American Indian College Fund to increase the number of Native American high school graduates through the $ 300,000 award to Indigenous students Go Ahead: Dollar General High School Equivalency Completion Program.
The Native Students Stepping Forward program will provide affordable and culturally appropriate high school equivalency (HSE) learning services to approximately 400 students at approximately six Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) located on or near Indian Reservations, where no other such service exists. To date, through the College Fund’s partnership with the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, 257 students have graduated from HSE programs hosted at TCUs. These successes have a significant impact on the families and communities of students.
The program aims to help TCUs increase HSE enrollment, retention and / or graduation rates and improve adult literacy in the communities they serve during the one-year grant period. . TCU facilitators will help the College Fund assess successes, challenges and solutions in delivering HSE services to Indigenous communities; assess the impact of increased funding focused on systemic needs to improve HSE services; and identify best practices in TCU HSE programming to share success with other indigenous communities.
Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, âThe College Fund and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation share a vision of educational and professional success by meeting people where they are. Their commitment to literacy and high school equivalency programs changes lives and we appreciate their investment.
âWe are honored to stand with the College Fund in helping students on their way to high school equivalency,â said Denine Torr, Executive Director of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. âThrough our partnership, we hope to continue to provide Native American students with opportunities to achieve their educational goals and create a bright future for themselves, their families and their communities.â
The pandemic has hit Native American students in tribal communities the hardest, due to economic inequalities and health care on tribal lands. In addition, limited access to technology has hampered access to schools with distance learning environments. Before the pandemic, indigenous people already had the lowest high school graduation rates in the country at 74% compared to the national average of 86%. As a result, college enrollment and completion rates were also lower with 19% of AI / AN students aged 18-25 enrolled in college compared to 32.1% of the overall states population. United, and university graduation rates less than half. that of the other groups, at 15% against 32.1%.
College enrollment has also suffered during the pandemic among Native American and Alaska Native students, with first-time Native student enrollments seeing the largest decline of any racial / ethnic group in the country, falling by 23% in all colleges and universities nationwide.
To create the leaders, educators, health workers, and business people that Indigenous communities need, the American Indian College Fund knows that higher education is the answer. To achieve this goal, Native American and Alaska Native students must first complete high school. The goal of the Native Students Stepping Forward: Dollar General High School Equivalence Completion program is to help students like Monique Gonzales do just that.
Monique received her HSE from Tohono O’odham Community College in Sells, Arizona, while simultaneously earning college credit through the Arizona College Credit Pathway program. Inspired by her twin brothers, who are hard of hearing and who attended the Arizona School of Deaf and Blind in Tucson, Monique realized that her skills learned as a performer could help others.
Monique said, “I can share my knowledge about the Deaf community with the Nation and other Native American tribes because we lack that knowledge and those accommodations.” Today, she is studying for an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science and Deaf Studies with a Certification in American Sign Language Interpretation at Phoenix College. She is considering moving to Grand Canyon University or Gallaudet University to earn a bachelor’s degree and then a master’s degree.
About the Dollar General Literacy Foundation–The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is proud to support initiatives that help others improve their lives through literacy and education. Since 1993, the Foundation has awarded more than $ 203 million in grants, helping more than 14.8 million people take their first steps towards literacy, a general education degree or mastery of English. Cal Turner, Jr. founded the Dollar General Literacy Foundation in honor of his grandfather and Dollar General co-founder, JL Turner, who was functionally illiterate after dropping out of school in third grade to support his family. The Foundation aims to provide support to schools, libraries and nonprofit organizations that seek to improve literacy initiatives for adults, summers, youth and families. To learn more about the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, visit www.dgliteracy.org.
About the American Indian College Fund– The American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Indigenous higher education for 31 years. The College Fund estimates that ‘education is the answer’ and provided $ 9.25 million in scholarships to Native American students in 2019-2020, with scholarships, programs and community support totaling over 237 million dollars since its inception. The College Fund also supports a variety of university programs. and support programs at the country’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools they need to graduate and succeed in their careers. the top 100 charities nationwide named in the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information, please visit www.collegefund.org.
JournalistsâThe American Indian College Fund does not use the acronym AICF. For the second referral, please use the College Fund.