The Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded the American Indian College Fund $300,000 for the Native Students Stepping Forward: Dollar General High School Equivalency Completion Program.
The program provides approximately 400 students a chance to attain a high school equivalency (HSE) at six Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) on or near reservations where no similar programming exists. The goal is to increase HSE enrollment, retention, graduation rates, and improve adult literacy.
The pandemic has negatively impacted Native American student enrollment, with colleges and universities seeing a 23% decline nationwide, the steepest impact out of all racial or ethnic groups in the country. Native Americans already have the lowest high school graduation rates at 74% compared with 86% nationally.
So far, through this partnership between the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and the College Fund, 257 students have graduated from HSE programs hosted at TCUs.
Denine Torr, executive director of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, said, “Through our partnership, we hope to continue providing opportunities for Native American students to achieve their educational goals and create bright futures for themselves, their families, and their communities.”