Thriving Communities Working Paper

American Indian/Alaskan Native College Dropout: Recommendations for Increasing Retention and Graduation

Throughout the United States, the college dropout rate among American Indian/Alaskan Native (AI/AN) students in public universities is the highest compared to any other student group. Researchers have identified this problem and offered reasons for it, but few have made specific efforts to disrupt the continued dropout rates. This article identifies and discusses three recommendations to address the dropout problem from a systems, rather than individual, perspective: (1) living and learning communities, (2) social belonging intervention, and (3) self-regulated learning activities. Studied with minority students, these endeavors show promise for retaining underrepresented students, specifically AI/AN students. To disrupt the long-term problem of dropouts among the AI/AN population, adjustments within public university systems must be part of the effort.

Project: Native Assets 


Patterson, D. A., Butler-Barnes, S. T., & Van Zile-Tamsen, C. (2015). American Indian/Alaskan Native college dropout: Recommendations for increasing retention and graduation (CSD Working Paper No. 15-03). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.