The Ivy Coach Daily

January 14, 2014

Native Americans and the Ivy League

Dartmouth College was founded to educate Native Americans. The College on the Hill continues that tradition today by being a leader in educating Native Americans. As an example, they’ve got a great Native American studies department at the university (photo credit: Gavin Huang).

Native American students in the Ivy League are in short supply, with exception to Dartmouth College. According to a piece in “Indian Country” by Tanya H. Lee entitled “American Indians Go Ivy League,” the percentage of American Indian and Alaska Native undergrads within the Ivy League colleges rests at around 0.5%. That’s right. 0.5%. One exception among the eight Ivy League colleges is Dartmouth. With 175 American Indian and/or Alaska Native undergraduates at The College on the Hill, the university boasts a much higher statistic — 4% of the student body. Princeton on the other hand? Not so much!

Dartmouth was founded as a college for the education of Native Americans. It’s a part of the school’s rich tradition and it’s part of the reason the school excels in attracting the best and brightest Native American students from across the United States. According to the piece in  “Indian Country,” “Dartmouth is serious about recruiting and retaining American Indian students. Its efforts, says Paul Sunde, director of admissions, involves visiting schools and tribal communities and participating in the National Indian Education Association’s conference and the College Horizons programs. Then there is Dartmouth’s unique Native American Fly-In program, which brings 50 students interested in the Native community and/or Native American Studies to campus to find out what Dartmouth offers, meet professors, administrators and other students and learn about the application process and financial aid. Dartmouth pays airfare and provides room and board for participants.”

So why, we ask, can’t the other seven Ivy League institutions make these kinds of efforts like Dartmouth? These measures seem quite logical! Penn having ten Native American students in its incoming class four years ago just isn’t acceptable, although this number has climbed to 30 this year. It’s progress at least. And we don’t mean to single out Penn because the numbers for Princeton are even worse.

Have a question on Native American enrollment within the Ivy League? Let us know your questions by posting below. We look forward to hearing from you! And, while you’re here, check out our Ivy League Admissions Statistics.

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