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Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) was recently highlighted as one of five institutions in a case study by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). The case study, titled Supporting the Attainment of Native American Students in Higher Education: Approaches Taken by Five Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions, looks at graduation outcomes at Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions (NASNTI).

“American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students have lower enrollment and attainment rates than any other demographic in the U.S. Nationally, 25 percent of AI/AN adults have an associate or higher degree compared to 43 percent of all adults,” said Suzanne Benally, Director of Native-Serving Institutions Initiative for WICHE. “NEO A&M is highlighted in the study as one of five NASNTI campuses that showed low or no attainment gaps between AI/AN students and other students.”

In addition to NEO, the study looked at East Central University in Ada, Okla.; Murray State College, in Tishomingo, Okla.; Northeastern State University, in Tahlequah, Okla.; and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, in Pembroke, NC. The three-year study highlights how the five institutions have implemented practices that increase Native student persistence and success on campus. The findings of the study noted several practices that aid in student success, such as prioritizing relationships, providing presidential-level leadership, and hiring to Native American values, among others. Additionally, the study noted that all five institutions used both quantitative and qualitative data strategies to support institutional support to AI/AN students. “Overall, the study found that Native American culture, family, and community figure prominently in the student success practices and initiatives developed and implemented across the five NASNTIs in the study,” added Benally.

Through this and other studies under the initiative, Reducing Postsecondary Attainment Gaps for American Indians and Alaska Natives: Linking Policy and Practice, WICHE seeks to develop strategies to drive AI/AN success as well as supportive policy at the state and federal level. To read the complete case study, visit WICHE.edu. Or to find out more about AI/AN support resources at NEO, contact Rachel Lloyd at RLloyd@neo.edu.

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