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Study Reveals Low Retention Rates for Nevada’s American Indian Students

A study presented to the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents shows that only 57 percent of American Indian freshmen at Nevada colleges and universities continue on to their sophomore year, according to an article in University of Nevada, Las Vegas’s student newspaper, The Rebel Yell.

The rest either transfer to an out-of-state college or drop out of school completely, according to the study presented to the regents by UNLV’s Vice President of Student Life Rebecca Mills.

This is the worst freshman retention rate of all ethnic groups in Nevada, far below the overall average of 73 percent. What’s worse, only 16 percent of American Indians at UNLV graduate within five years.

While the study did not suggest causes of such low retention rates, some have suggested the culture shock of going from a reservation where American Indians are the majority to a university where they are a small minority may be to blame.

Others suggest that the trauma suffered by American Indians in the U.S. is continuing to have an impact and may be a reason for the low retentions rates among Native college students.

American Indians and African Americans were the only ethnic groups with retention rates under 70 percent. Sixty-three percent of Black freshmen enrolled in Nevada colleges went on to their sophomore year.

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