‘Invisibility’ Impedes College Access for Native Americans

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Native American students are often left out of the college access equation, a new report found.

“Invisibility is in essence the modern form of racism used against Native Americans,” the report said. “It is this invisibility that leads to a college access and completion crisis among Native American students. When a student is invisible, his or her academic and social needs are not met. This leads to students feeling alienated and alone, derailing their matriculation and the realization of their dreams and potential.”

The report, Creating Visibility and Healthy Learning Environments for Native Americans in Higher Education,  was created by the American Indian College Fund. It examines the current landscape for Native students and asks supporters to commit to increasing the number of Native American and Alaska Natives who enter and graduate from college.

The erasure of these students, the report found, “prevents many young Native people from even thinking college is a possibility; others entertain the idea but are stopped from enroll[ing] in college because of negative experiences with admissions processes or on college campuses.”

The report offers concrete steps colleges and universities can take to serve this student population, including finding dedicated space on campus for Native students and hiring Native staff members.

Read the full report and learn more about supporting Native students in The Journal of College Admission.

Ashley Dobson is NACAC’s communications manager for content and social media. You can reach her at adobson@nacacnet.org.

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