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Tribal colleges and universities (also known as TCUs) are educational institutions that are designated to offer Native Americans higher education within their own tribe. In 1968, the first tribal college was established in the United States. Now, there is an abundance of TCUs all across the country!

 

What are tribal colleges and universities?

As former President Barack Obama said, “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.” Currently, tribal colleges and universities serve approximately 88,000 students. The governing bodies of tribes control the administration of the universities, but are primarily funded by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 1978. There is a wide variety of age within the student body ranging from young adults to senior citizens. Even though TCUs have a broad age range, individual tribe identity is woven into the fabrics of the colleges. Preserving tribal culture is a primary focus of the colleges, and they work to preserve their traditions through all aspects of their classes, curriculums, and programs.

 

What do they offer?

Tribal colleges and universities offer a specialized environment for Native American students to earn a degree. Even though these universities are mostly restricted to members of a federally recognized tribe, they still deliver extensive education programs. According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are around 350 programs available. These programs include degrees, certificates, diplomas, and apprenticeships. Just like a public university, there are options to pursue an associate or bachelor’s degree. Additionally, there are a few institutions that offer master’s degree programs.

TCUs are important in giving a sound support system to rural Native American tribes. They are often a major resource for communities who value their native heritage. The American Indian College Fund reports that tribal students who attend a TCU graduate at a rate of 86 percent as compared to less than 10 percent who attend a mainstream university. Students who attend these colleges continue on to use their knowledge for their own tribe or venture outside of their community.

 

List of TCUs

Here is a list of TCUs for you to explore! For an extensive list of Tribal Colleges and Universities, visit the website of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education. It includes a map of tribal college locations as well as website links, important contact information, and statistics about each university.

1. Aniiih Nakoda College
2. Bay Mills Community College
3. Blackfeet Community College
4. Cankdeska Cicana Community College
5. Chief Dull Knife College
6. College of the Menominee Nation
7. College of the Muscogee Nation
8. Comanche Nation College
9. Diné College
10. Fond Du Lac Tribal & Community College
11. Fort Peck Community College
12. Haskell Indian Nations University
13. Ilisagvik College
14. Institute of American Indian Arts
15. Institute of American Indian & Alaska Native Culture
16. Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College
17. Lac Courte Oreille Ojibwa Community College
18. Leech Lake Tribal College
19 Little Big Horn College
20. Little Priest Tribal College
21. Navajo Technical University
22. Nebraska Indian Community College
23. Northwest Indian College
24. Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College
25. Oglala Lakota College
26. Red Lake Nation College
27. Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College
28. Salish Kootenai College
29. Sinte Gleska University
30. Sisseton Wahpeton College
31. Sitting Bull College
32. Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute
33. Stone Child College
34. Tohono O’Odham Community College
35. Turtle Mountain Community College
36. United Tribes Technical College
37. White Earth Tribal & Community College
38. Wind River Tribal College