Two new studies have ranked Northern Arizona University as a top provider of Indigenous student education.
Diverse Issues in Higher Education reported NAU had top rankings for American Indian/Alaska Native students in nine bachelor degree programs, according to the media release. Also, the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System ranked NAU second in the nation for minority master’s and doctorate degree completion rates within a fiscal year, and third for graduate fall enrollment.
“We continue to support our strategic goal, not just in words, but with multifaceted action,” said Chad Hamill, vice president for NAU’s Office of Native American Initiatives.
NAU ranked first in awarding bachelor’s degrees to Native American students in public health and management information systems and services. NAU ranked second for awarding bachelor’s degrees to Native Americans in dental support services and allied professions. Other top rankings include engineering, liberal arts, biological sciences, nursing and hospitality.
NAU’s Native American Cultural Center serves as a primary hub for Indigenous student engagement on campus. As the only facility of its kind in Arizona, the center provides support and resources to help Indigenous students navigate their academics.
Currently, more than 2,000 Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students are enrolled at NAU, with representatives from more than 110 nations. NAU officials said the diversity brings an array of perspectives and cultural experiences to the university community.
Hamill said the low graduation rates of Indigenous undergraduate students across all universities serving Native American students is the main challenge.
“Given our strategic goal, we won’t rest until graduation rates for Native American students are equivalent to those of their non-Native peers,” he said.
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