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The Vermont Connection

Abstract

Native Americans have the highest college drop out rate of any ethnic minority (Reddy, 1993). This paper addresses the unique challenges that Native American college students face, including suppressing familial and spiritual beliefs, having financial disadvantages, coping with existing stereotypes, receiving insufficient secondary education, and finding no one on campus with whom to identify. According to Brown and Robinson Kurpius (1997), “A common element of successful Native American drop out prevention programs is that at least one adult establishes a relationship of trust with each youth” (p. 5). In the spirit of the above-mentioned quote, this paper also addresses the importance of the involvement of student affairs offices in establishing connections with Native American students, which contributes to an improved college experience and increased retention of native students. Specifically, the counseling center, career services, and the ALANA (African, Latino/a, Asian, and Native American) student center are discussed.