“My Administration is also committed to improving educational opportunities for students attending TCUs. TCUs maintain, preserve, and restore Native languages and cultural traditions; offer a high quality college education; provide career and technical education, job training, and other career building programs; and often serve as anchors in some of the country’s poorest and most remote areas.”
(Executive Order 13592)
Presently, there are 32 fully accredited Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) in the United States, with one formal candidate for accreditation. Three are in Associate Status. These TCUs offer 358 total programs, including apprenticeships, diplomas, certificates, and degrees. These programs include 181 associate degree programs at 23 TCUs, 40 bachelor’s degree programs at 11 TCUs, and 5 master’s degree programs at 2 TCUs (AIHEC).
Located mainly in the Midwest and Southwest, TCUs service approximately 30,000 full- and part-time students. According to fall 2010 enrollment data, 8.7 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) college students were attending one of the 32 accredited TCUs. AI/AN students composed 78 percent of the combined total enrollment of these institutions (2010 Review of Federal Agencies’ Support to Tribal Colleges and Universities). The percentages of AI/AN students attending TCUs are increasing yearly. According to a study by the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students enrolled in TCUs increased by 23 percent between 2001 and 2006.
TCUs are both integral and essential to their communities, creating environments that foster American Indian culture, languages, and traditions. They are often the only postsecondary institutions within some of our Nation’s poorest rural areas. TCUs serve a variety of people, from young adults to senior citizens, AI to non-American Indians. They also serve as community resources for crucial social services and add hope to communities that suffer from high rates of poverty and unemployment. And overall, TCUs have developed programs where students are achieving. The American Indian College Fund reports that 86 percent of TCU students complete their chosen program of study, while fewer than 10 percent of AI/AN students who go directly from reservation high schools to mainstream colleges and universities finish their bachelor’s degree.