Student Success Impact Report 2020-2021

Page 1


College Fund staff employed creative and adaptive practices to serve our students’ needs during the 2020-21 academic year, even as the pandemic impacted Native communities at disproportionate levels. Unable to see and connect with our students and tribal college partners in person, we found ways to engage virtually on topics specific to the Native student experience. There were noticeable increases in engagement around our self-care and wellness sessions. These offerings provided safe spaces for students to process and ground themselves during the continuing challenges of the school year. We developed deeper connections with staff and faculty at tribal colleges and high schools, allowing us to grow our programming and outreach in tribal communities. Our staff developed a better understanding of Native student needs, and how to meet them with responsive programming. It was a year of challenges, but with many bright spots that kept our focus on helping Native students achieve their academic, professional, and personal goals. Our hearts and efforts are set on the future — improving and deepening the critical services and support we provide to American Indian and Alaska Native students and communities.

2020–21 Introduction 2

Table of Contents 3 Students We Serve ......................................... 4 Direct Student Support................................... 5 Coaching ......................................................... 6 Student Engagement ..................................... 8 College Access ................................................ 9 Career Readiness .......................................... 11 Tribal College Institutional Capacity and Student Support .................................... 13 Braiding Student Success and Completion with a Purpose .......................... 17 Student Wellness and Identity to Support Student Success ......................... 18 Vision/Future ................................................ 19

• In Spring 2021, 295 Full Circle scholars, 29% of total Full Circle scholar recipients in 2020-2021, graduated with a postsecondary degree. (NSC data, pulled October, 2021.)


Almost 4,000 Native students received scholarship support from the College Fund in 2020-2021, with thousands more connected to college success resources, coaching and other supports to aid their planning and preparation for higher education and career. Our scholars represent 226 tribal nations in more than 40 states, attending more than 200 tribal colleges and other institutions of higher education.

Students We Serve

• 56% sought a Bachelor’s degree, 33% sought an Associate degree, and 3% sought a postgraduate degree.

226 tribal nations in more than 40 attendingstatesmore than 200 tribal colleges and other institutions of higher education.

• 89% of Full Circle scholars persisted from Fall 2020-Spring 2021. (899 of 1007 scholars)

• 66% of scholars met with a staff or faculty member about an academic plan, and 88% know what classes they need to graduate.

• 68% of scholars have a current resume and cover letter.

The survey of Full Circle Scholarship recipients paints a picture of the realities Native students face on their path to degree completion, and the comparative success they experience as a College Fund scholar. Our culturally-relevant programming and supports motivate students to plan for success, resulting in greater confidence, stronger identities and better outcomes:

• 66% of scholars participated in an internship, research or other hands-on practical application of their education.

WhileScholarshipslingeringeffects of the pandemic reduced the number of student applications, almost 6,000 applied for aid in 2020-2021. More than $9 Million was awarded to almost 4,000 students attending more than 200 tribal colleges and other accredited institutions. 728 of 1193 scholars applied for renewal of funds, and almost 2,000 were seeking support for their first year of college. The average Full Circle scholarship amount per recipient was $4,727.

Inclusive Student Supports for all students served: The Student Success Services team provides free resources for scholarship recipients and all students who contact us. These resources include text messages, emails, monthly Scholarship and Internship newsletters, coaches’ chats, and workshops ranging from help with scholarship applications and how to apply to an internship. We also provide a range of free resources on our website for a student’s educational journey to exploring employment.


Direct Student Support In Student Success Services at the College Fund, we provide many forms of direct student support to scholars and college-going Native students.

Coaching6 We provide three levels of coaching supports to scholars based on their Full Circle scholarship award. In 2020-2021 we supported: Students across cohorts are provided our newsletters, emails and text messages and a variety of interactive workshops, sessions and coaches chat’s on scholarship and financial supports, time management, career exploration and more. Based on the Full Circle Scholars Survey about coaching, students named regular support from coaches in all of the following areas: • Connecting to faculty, professionals or mentors • Discussing career goals and further study • Connecting to on-campus resources • Improving study skills • Providing emotional support and encouragement • Finding internship opportunities Light Coaching Heavy Coaching Intensive Coaching 685 Scholars 232 Scholars 109 Scholars 55 Scholarship Cohorts 24 Scholarship Cohorts 9 Scholarship Cohorts Goals: Persistence & Graduation Goals: Persistence, Graduation & Career Readiness Goals: Persistence, Graduation & Career Readiness Program Components Resources Shared Resources Shared Resources Shared Participation Recommended Participation Highly Recommended Participation Required

Sending almost 70,000 messages to scholars, text communication is a key tool for coaches to stay connected with busy students, provide best practice nudges and encouragements, and connect students with seasonally vital events and resources. 89% of scholars said text messages were helpful.

76% of scholars are comfortable reaching out to a college success coach with a question.


79% of scholars found the success coaching they received helpful (ranging from somewhat to very).

In January 2021, the College Fund launched an automated chatbot on our website to serve student needs 24/7. Its use during our regular scholarship application cycle saw almost 60,000 user sessions, with almost 9,000 engagements. Students found events helpful Have a better understanding of the event topic Likely to apply skills in their college journey 97% 93% 90%

Student Story

• More than 60% of surveyed scholars found website resources, online events and social media posts helpful.


• 81% found the amount of communication from the College Fund as “just right”.



College Fund scholar and student ambassador Jasmine Neosh (Menominee) graduated with her Bachelor’s degree from College of Menominee Nation. She is one of our many non-traditional students who attended college after an academic break after high school. While at College of Menominee Nation she developed her civic leadership skills by focusing on sustainability efforts both on and off campus. Seeking to advocate for environmental justice and tribal sovereignty, she has been recently accepted into the University of Michigan Law School.

• Email newsletters, event follow-ups, and other opportunity messages saw 50-80% open rates.

In addition to coaching, the College Fund provides a large number of events, resources, encouragements and engagements to its scholars and other college-going Native students. From social media posts and emails to postcards and online events, the Student Success Services team provides an array of motivating promotions to engage students.

Almost 30 online events served a larger group of college-going students and professional partners on 2020-2021. Organized around timely best practices and topics, event participant surveys found the webinars helpful and applicable.

• 64 high schools that fed into more than 20 tribal colleges

78 $3000 Higher Pathways grants were awarded in 20-21, More than any other year.

Our outreach to high school students to build a college-going culture and knowledge is dependent upon the reservationbased schools we work with, and their dedicated counselors and faculty. We built an engaged network of high school partners, with over 80 schools partnering with the College Fund in 2020-2021. In addition to providing culturally-relevant materials and aids, like the Native Pathways College-Going Guidebook, this programming provides $3,000 Higher Pathways Grants to incentivize and plan college readiness activities for their students.

National Average for All Students National Average for AI/AN Students

EnrollmenCollegetRates RCollegeetentionRatesHigh GraduationSchoolRates EnrollmenCollegetRates RCollegeetentionRatesHigh GraduationSchoolRatesEnrollmenCollegetRates

RCollegeetentionRatesHigh GraduationSchoolRates

* Native Pathways partner schools reported results 2019-2020. (NCES 2019)

College Access

— High School Counselor at Kiita School, Utqiagvik, AK

“Prior to the incentives offered by the Pathways Grant, we only had 4 students complete the FAFSA, and reaching students and parents has been difficult due to COVID. The grant money allowed us to create a campaign with incentives, advertise for it on social media, and achieve a 650% increase in FAFSA completions.”

High School Partners

• 11 tribal education offices and Native youth-serving organizations

In addition to the College Fund’s support of Native college students, we also support college access through high school and GED programming — promoting and enabling a college-going culture throughout Native communities.

• 3 tribal colleges to promote first-time college enrollment

Partner Testimonials

FASFA 91%* 54% 8678% % 66% 76% 74% 24% 50%

As a result of our college readiness programming for high schools, we saw higher graduation and retention rates than the national average for all students, and drastically higher results than the average for American Indian/ Alaska Native students.

In 2020-2021, the High School College Choice program provided culturally engaging academic and programmatic strategies with over 80 reservation-based high schools. We worked with partner schools to increase and improve the college-going culture and career attainment of more than 500 Native American high school students. 58 events were offered to high school students over the 2020-2021 year. Activities included: scholarship application workshops, high school student check ins with a coach, choosing a college, paying for college,


“Because of this [program] 64% of our students who graduated received a scholarship and 27% were accepted and enrolled in a college. This is really amazing for our school which had 10% who received scholarships last year, and had no students accepted or enrolled into college.”

Seniors at Participating Native Pathways High Schools

— Gear Up Coordinator at Browning High School, Browning, MTcompletion, wellness sessions, study tips and College Fund Ambassadors leading workshops in the local high school community.

and wellness

The Summer of Success Virtual Conference in July 2021, brought together more than 215 actively engaged high school and college students, and their community and institution supporters for a three-day virtual event to promote successful college-going paths. Student conference attendees participated in a pre and post survey to learn about their perceptions of their college readiness and confidence before and after the summer conference. Both high school student and able to learn from Indigenous people was very helpful as it showed how we as Native people can be successful. keynote address left a profound impact on always grateful learning about what financial aid is available various opportunities too.” pleased that there was a holistic health component to this conference. health support, resources and for are so important for and workforce pathways pursuits. overlooked in prep, survival goal setting.”

and the


— College Student Participant “I am






— Staff Conference Attendee Participant Quotes 2021 Event Highlight: Summer of Success Virtual Conference 10 5.1 4.8 3.9 4.0 4.6 5.3 4.85.1 5.1 5.1 4.5 College Preparedness Overall Academic Aspects of College Prepared about Transfer Financial Related Aspects College Related Aspects College Students Preparedness and Confidence 5.0 student participants’ mean confidence scores increased overall as a result of their participation in the conference. The average satisfaction score for the conference was 9.63 out of 10, with the most popular sessions including: • Wellness & Cultural Identity • Scholarships • Telling Your Story Through Writing • Financial Literacy and FAFSA College Students Preparedness and Confidence High School Student College Readiness Confidence


It cannot be


me. I am


college 3.6 4.4 4.4 4.5 4.3 4.4 4.9 5.1 4.9 Financial aspects Social and cultural aspects Career related aspects Academic aspects Overall college going experience High School Student College Readiness Confidence 5.0 “Being


Endowment Employable Graduate Pathways Project, the Native American Agricultural Fund and the Ford Foundation, each student submitted career building projects for consideration — from undergraduate and graduate research to job site visits. Students used the funds to support their career interests through a variety of experiences:


Internship Fair Graduate School fair Graduate School fair – Law Graduate School fair – Business Professional Devleopment workshops – CONNECT Pathways: resume building, networking, cover letter creation interviewing 15218520614051 Event Offered # of Participants Grants for Student Development ConferenceCertificationsattendance 4 8 Research with faculty 15 Service learning 6 Non-profit internship 4 Coroporate/Business internship 3 Government* internship 2 * includes federal, state and city $148,140 were made available to 41 students in a new professional development grant program. With funding provided by the

Throughout the year, we held a series of events that supported student exploration into a variety of topics. The main goal was to expose students to opportunities and to learn how key partnerships can enhance overall student success. Lilly

Career Readiness

The College Fund works to help students discover and plan for their career and continuing education goals — connecting them with resources, professionals and opportunities to ensure their In addition to implementation of our career coaching model with Full Circle scholars, best practices are delivered through events, networking platforms and grants.

Jaci Deitrick (Cherokee Nation), Oklahoma State University, Undergraduate Student Jaci was funded three times for her career experience project. Her first project was to artificially impregnate a cow and bring those offspring to market. She successfully managed to bring one calf to full birth and is now tracking the calf’s development. Through her research, she learned that small farms have a hard time marketing their services and goods and developed a greater understanding of marketing to support small farm marketing and growth. In 2021, Jaci joined the Student Success Services department to support the Career Readiness & Employment team. She organized a career readiness expo in the spring of 2022.

“As I mentioned before, I now have numerous connections around the United States. Because of this, I know that when I graduate and take off into the career field I will have an advantage due to having numerous connections to call on for references, resources, or recommendations. This experience was more than valuable to my life but the connection that I made through this experience is priceless.”

“It helped me to expand my professional network by making some new contacts and friends in the wildlife field. Which will be extremely important for finding future work when I’m finished with school.

The experience has also helped me get closer to graduating by furthering my research, which will bring me one step closer to reaching my educational goals. “


Student Experiences

Brandon is a current graduate student. His career experience project was focused on developing a map that would outline a plot of land that could be used for his Tribe to reintroduce a buffalo herd onto their land. He worked with the Tribe, state, and federal agencies during this project and had an opportunity to attend the Native American Fish & Wildlife Society Conference.

Brandon Kittson (Blackfeet Nation), University of Montana, Graduate student and former Salish Kootenai College Student

Jaci graduated with a dual major in Agribusiness and Psychology and is preparing to start and MBA program at Oklahoma State University in fall 2022.

Mental &TransparencyHealthPartnerships

DevelopmentSupportstudentHolisticCommunity Culture

Through the Cultivating Native Student Success project, the five participating tribal colleges are working to disrupt this cycle through system change. The program builds capacity of tribal colleges by utilizing culturally reflective strategies to create strategic enrollment management (SEM) plans that increase enrollment, persistence and graduation rates of Native students through holistic, place-based, and collaborative student supports. &

Application to Enrollment: United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) conducted a “student journey” deep dive that followed students from application to enrollment, allowing identification of gaps and creation of supporting interventions.

SEM: An Inclusive, Native-Centered Student Experience

Advising Models: Lac Courtes Oreilles Ojibwe College (LCOOC) along with Salish Kootenai College have shifted their advising models from a centralized process to faculty advising, increasing semester-to-semester retention.

Community Outreach: LCOOC conducted door-to-door and community outreach events in Summer 2021. Outreach at movie nights, beading and jingle dress making gatherings resulted in record enrollment numbers.

Orientations: Stone Child College implemented virtual orientations and saw an increase in participation.

Participating Tribal Colleges


SupportsAcademic&Planning PlanningCareerServices

Early registration and alerts: all 5 TCUs adopted early registration and early alert practices to better prepare and support students early in the semester.

Tribal College Institutional Capacity and Student Support

Many tribal colleges are caught in a cycle of declining enrollment. As a result, declining enrollment contributes to less funding and fewer resources to support student matriculation and persistence. This is compounded by typical limits on staff, student support services, and infrastructure at tribal colleges. The COVID-19 pandemic added another layer to these already overstretched institutions.


Wellness: Oglala Lakota College hired a wellness/mental health coordinator who is from and lives in the community.

Cultivating Native Student Success highlights:

This Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) dashboard from Salish Kootenai College is one example of the tools used by the five participating tribal colleges in the Cultivating Native Student Success project to track their enrollment, retention, and completion rates. Targets were created by analyzing their three or five-year National Student Clearinghouse and AIMS-AKIS data.

Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) Dashboard Salish Kootenai College 68% 78% 78% 56% 70% 57% Key Indicator EnrollmentStudent 812 students 5-yr AIMS AKIS average 3-yr average for all students institutional data; average is 73% for first-year studentsby Spring 2022 Fall to Winter 2020, First-Year Students Only 3-yr institutionalaverage,data by Fall 2022 Fall 2019 to Fall 2020 879 students by Fall 2022 716 students Fall 2020; 9% increase in freshman enrollment TFall-to-WinterermStudentPersistenceFirst-YearStudentRetention Baseline Y1: 2020-2021TargetPerformance 14

Many tribal colleges only offer associate or limited bachelor’s programs. The College Fund works with these schools to support students to prepare and plan for transfer to institutions with 4-year degree options.


Program Highlight: Ina wa wounspe pi

Ina wa wounspe pi (mothers who are learning) is a scholarship cohort of 15 single mothers who attend TCUs and interested in transferring. Ina wa wounspe pi scholars engage as a peer community guided by a College Fund coach who was a single mother and graduated from a TCU. Supports specific to the needs of student mothers in college are provided in this unique cohort.

This webinar allowed transfer students to learn about the College Fund’s transfer program and the transfer process from a panel of admissions officers, counselors, advisors, and students. “I thought the weekend Zoom calls were nice for working moms. One Zoom meeting gave resources on transfer schools which I found helpful. I was able to get names of schools and programs which will help me in planning the rest of my education. Thank you for everything.”

— Program Participant

Tribal college students interested in transferring after earning an associate’s degree had opportunities to engage in over 27 webinars and workshops focused on what is needed for successful transfer. Topics included: college and career readiness and wellness specific for transfer students — including Coaches Hotlines where students could gather informally once a month to connect with coaches and peers to ask any questions of our coaching team.

Event Highlight: Transfer Student Webinar

Tribal College Transfer Supports

“ You guys made me feel right at home” — TCU staff

Location: new regioin Fine arts programs

Qualities of TCUs ranked by Importance to Students

0%2%2%2%5%6%9%9% 23%


“ The smaller class size, student services and support, and not feeling like another number to the college. I love the amount of native studies that are offered!” — Attendee “ Thanks for coordinating the virtual college fair last night. You each added good flow and enthusiasm to the evening.” — TCU staff TCU Fair Feedback

I am a junior getting ready to start my senior year next semester” — Attendee

With recruiting and connection needs further highlighted by pandemic conditions, the College Fund invested $100,000 in a pilot virtual tour program for twelve tribal colleges. We used the services of Campus Reel, whose tour platform gained wide acclaim from high school counselors because of how school supports and programs are presented by the student themselves. This format is ideal for highlighting the unique culture, program offerings and familial support of tribal colleges. Each participating tribal college has a program coordinator to help recruit students Campus Reel walks them step-by-step through the tour creation. The platform provides additional tools for the school to use in sending out video messages to their student body and helps them integrate the tours into their website and other student recruitment campaigns. The College Fund also promotes these engaging spaces through updated website tools, media outreach and partner incentive campaigns to support the TCUs visibility.

Location: close to home

Event Highlight: TCU Fair

Native studies and language

Athletics, clubs, organizations Certificate and trade programs

“I loved that Dine college was affordable, close to home and offered a bachelors degree in Elementary Education.


The College Fund supports tribal colleges in their visibility and outreach efforts with events like the three-day Tribal College & University Fair in November 2021. Highlighting 15 tribal colleges in 13 states, this was a collaborative opportunity to promote programs and supports at each institution. More than 80% of surveyed participants who attended described feeling encouraged to learn more about tribal colleges, and revealed that quality education, affordability and cultural programming were the most attractive attributes.


Tribal College & University Virtual Tours and Visibility

Student support resources Science and Math programs

NWIC Coaching Model

The College Fund is building college and career success capacity at tribal colleges for current students and prospective high school students.

s la-lexw “Our Strength comes from the old people. From them we receive our teachings and knowledge and the advice we need for our daily lives.” e e e e xwlemi-chosen “Our culture is our language. We should strengthen and maintain our language.” leng-e-sot

• 4 employers created work-based experiences for students at Northwest Indian College.

“I really appreciated the fact that we were given the opportunity through Braided Success funding to focus on career paths rather than solely academic paths thus prompting the college to develop programming that will help students in the future focus on their career path and career goals and not just going to a four-year institution.”

The Braiding Student Success program supported over 1,000 students and community members at four tribal colleges. Programming at the schools ranged from virtual guest speaker series to tribal college open houses. Outreach included the distribution of gift bags with health supplies, college gear, and the provision of $200,000 in emergency food aid.


scht ng xw n


• 36 post-secondary students were engaged in workbased experiences tied to their major or field of study.

— Marissa Lewis, College of Muscogee Nation Program Manager “ The Braided Success college experience days felt amazing and just what we needed. It was nice to have students back in our building after the long COVID-19 shutdown.”

“ We are responsible to protect our territory. This means that we take care of our land and the water and everything that is on and in it.”

Braiding Student Success and Completion with a Purpose

xaalh “Life Balance/Sacred.”

“ The majority of the students had never completed the College Fund scholarship application process prior to the January 2021 workshop. Therefore, the event was beneficial to our students and a success for our Braided Success program.”

• 25 total employers were engaged in various ways in the overall project at Northwest Indian College and College of the Muscogee Nation. Each school was asked to develop a career advising process and programming that would support students within a specific academic program. Northwest Indian College’s model acknowledge the unique journeys that all students take through their education and careers.

— Deanna Rainbow, Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College Program Manager

“ We take care of ourselves, watch out for ourselves and love and take care of one another.”

Completion with a Purpose funded career readiness programming at two tribal colleges over two years. Progress in the 2020-2021 year included: • 229 post-secondary students were engaged in career advising programs and initiatives.

— Raven Freebird, WETCC Program Manager 17 Ways (Epistemology)Knowingof Ways of

Designed for their Tribal Governance and Business Management Program, it provides a career advising process that is culturally-relevant and respectful of each student’s path.

Relationality(Ontology)Being(Axiolog) xwlemi-chosen(Methodology)Storytellingleng-e-sot

In response to student need, we engaged with Native wellness professionals and artists — providing spaces for students to learn, share and celebrate each other during a tough and disconnected time. We had great attendance at online events around healing, meditation, and expression — as well as cultural and social gatherings. These outreaches are now a permanent part of our support of scholars and Native students, while informing our traditional college-going best practices programming.

18 Emotional support & ... Tips for self-care Encouragement to further education Discuss career plans Improve study skills Help with goal-setting Connecting to mental health ... Finding internship opportunities Faculty, working professionals, ... On-campus resources 59% What Scholars want from their Success Coach 16% 26%28%32%34%42%45%46%49%

In our Scholars Survey, emotional support, encouragement, and self-care were identified as areas of support that students most desire from College Fund Success Coaches. Since the onset of the pandemic, the College Fund has offered more resources and refocused program elements to support students in their wellness. Students and professionals alike, felt the increased need to acknowledge the impact of physical and mental well-being on academic and career success.

Student Wellness & Identity to Support Student Success

As we concluded the 2020-2021 academic year, it was apparent this was a unique opportunity to re-think, re-ground, and re-establish the way we support Native student success and tribal college outcomes. Our scholars and tribal college partners taught us the importance of a shared vision, making sure that our work is reflective of community goals and values. As we prepare for the next 19 year, we will build upon proven strengths to better support Native students attain their academic and career goals. Many of our best practices remain rooted in shared definitions of higher education success. We will work to ensure the support we provide is reflective of the relationships, cultures, and communities of the students we serve.


8333 Greenwood Boulevard Denver, Colorado www.collegefund.org80221

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.