Friday, April 20, 2012

University of California, Riverside will commit $210,000

RIVERSIDE — The University of California, Riverside will commit $210,000 across the next three years for programs geared toward encouraging and assisting Native American youth seeking a college education, it was announced Wednesday.

UCR Chancellor Timothy White told 50 or so attendees at the campus's Native American Educational Summit on Tuesday that he would be willing to dedicate funds to support a “stay-in-the-game” effort that contributes to higher college attendance by students from regional tribes.

The money would not be drawn from state appropriations, but instead come from the university's pool of discretionary funds, according to campus officials.

“This will make a difference. If everyone (at the summit) participates, it will be successful,” said Cahuilla tribal member and UCR graduate Mike Madrigal.

He agreed with White's observation that because young Native American adults lack a support network away from the reservation, they're often reluctant to move ahead with advancing their academic achievements.

Tribal leaders should put more emphasis on outreach, offering new avenues for youngsters interested in a post-secondary education, according to White.

“The chancellor has involved the American Indian community in an engaging way,” said Clifford Trafzer, UCR professor of Indian American affairs. “He has provided us with the resources to touch the lives of children, parents and tribes interested in furthering American Indian education.”

The summit led to plans for the Inter-Tribal Education Collaborative to establish a website that profiles the higher education options available to Native American students, according to UCR.

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