Andrews University and the Pokagon Band are working to improve Native American student outcomes. Photo credit: David Sherwin

Andrews University partners with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians

Andrews University has partnered with the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, under the new initiatives of the Title III grant by the U.S. Department of Education, to improve Native American student outcomes.

In Michigan, only 14.2 percent of Native Americans or Alaska Natives who are 25 years of age or older have received a bachelor’s degree, compared to the statewide average of 28.1 percent. The goal of the Pokagon Band is to have at least 60 percent of its workforce obtain the necessary knowledge, skills and credentials demanded within the Pokagon Band economy by 2025. The Pokagon Band Enrollment Office reports the Pokagon Band population is more than 5,900 citizens with 2,509 residing in the Restoration Act service area of Michiana. The largest concentrations of Pokagon Citizens reside in Dowagiac, Hartford and Benton Harbor, Michigan, and South Bend/Mishawaka area of Indiana.

Andrews University offers two scholarships for Pokagon citizens and members of citizen households. The Andrews University–Native American Higher Education Scholarship is available to all enrolled Pokagon Band students and their family members, both immediate native and non-native. The Enhanced Andrews University–Native American Higher Education Scholarship offers 100 percent free tuition to two eligible students. Native Americans enrolled in other tribes may also qualify for the scholarships, although priority will be given to Pokagon Band students.

Scholarship applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Confirmed U.S. SAT or ACT scores and/or
  • Confirmed U.S. cumulative GPA (2.5 and above) or equivalent (following the conclusion of the sixth semester for academy or high school)

 

As part of this initiative, Andrews University will offer three college-level courses—Math, English and Stress Management—in a year-long cohort education model, beginning in the fall of 2021, on the Pokagon Band campus or remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions as requested by Pokagon Band.

Students also may opt to register to attend the Andrews University main campus directly for fall 2021 and beyond. When students are enrolled on the Andrews main campus for their coursework, they are required to meet both academic and co-curricular requirements.

In developing the initiatives of the Title III grant, Andrews University and the Pokagon Band aim to increase the number of Native American students enrolled at Andrews from 8 to 20 each year for five years and beyond. Within the increase in enrollment, Andrews and the Pokagon Band would like to grow the number of Native American students participating in STEM disciplines as well.

Andrews and the Pokagon Band also hope to improve career readiness in 10 percent of Native American students by providing a cohesive, demand-driven job skills training and career development system that focuses on client-centered career pathways. In addition, this partnership plans to provide job training to at least 15 Native American adults each year within the Pokagon Band community and increase skill levels of Pokagon citizens, spouses and custodial parents in order to meet the needs of the community partners.

For more information on opportunities at Andrews University for the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, please contact Joseph Avance, Title III student success recruiter and advisor, at avance@andrews.edu and Padma P. Tadi Uppala, Title III project director and chair of the School of Population Health, Nutrition & Wellness, at padma@andrews.edu.

 

Compiled by Padma T. Uppala, Title III project director and chair of the School of Population Health, Nutrition & Wellness, and Gillian Panigot, communication manager and FOCUS editor