The Freeport-McMoRan Foundation has announced an investment of $6 million to increase access to higher education for Native American students as part of an expanded partnership with Education Forward Arizona, to help 200 Native American students graduate by 2026.
This partnership expansion will support two cohorts of 100 Native American students, providing scholarships of up to $6,000 annually and support services to help them succeed in pursuing and completing a postsecondary certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree. The first cohort will be selected this fall and the second cohort in the fall of 2023.
“The Freeport-McMoRan Foundation has provided more than 374 scholarships to Native American students over the past 12 years, and we remain deeply committed to helping students from tribal communities pursue higher education,” said Freeport-McMoRan Foundation President Tracy Bame. “Arizona has the second largest population of Native American students in the country, but with completion rates at only 12.2% compared with 46% for the entire state, we feel it is critical to increase the effort to ensure these students have greater opportunity to achieve higher education and the socio-economic mobility it enables.”
“We are proud of our continued work with Education Forward Arizona and see the tremendous impact this partnership can have in creating resilience for individuals, families and Native American communities at large as graduates return to serve their communities in impactful ways. We are especially pleased to expand the number of scholarships so significantly from 23 in 2021 to 200 for 2022-23 and beyond, which will also include the support services that ensure these students have the best possible opportunity for success. We look forward to following and supporting their journey.”
Eligible students must be an enrolled member of one of the qualifying Tribal Nations which include Hualapai Tribe, Navajo Nation, San Carlos Apache Tribe, White Mountain Apache Tribe and Tohono O’odham Nation. While priority will be given to students from these five tribes, enrolled members of nine additional Tribal Nations are also eligible which include Ak-Chin Indian Community, Gila River Indian Community, Hopi Tribe, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Tonto Apache Tribe, Yavapai-Apache Nation, Yavapai Prescott Indian Tribe and Zuni Pueblo.
“This is an exciting time to expand our support to Native American students across Arizona, and this program will be an important contributor to achieving one of our main objectives of increasing the state attainment rate, particularly among underserved populations,” said Vince Roig, board chair for Education Forward Arizona. “Thank you to The Freeport-McMoRan Foundation for their partnership and investment in moving education forward in Arizona.”
As the scholarship administrator, Education Forward Arizona will manage the application process, select and award the scholarship recipients and distribute the funds to each school. In addition to the scholarships, each recipient will receive support services from Education Forward Arizona Success Advisers, which are key to ensuring students can successfully navigate their educational path, persist through higher education and graduate with a degree or credential. These support services include mentoring sessions, enrollment counseling, academic tracking, financial aid advice, peer networking, professional development, and more.
“This year, more than any other year, students need as much support as possible as they pursue their postsecondary education,” said Education Forward Arizona President and CEO Rich Nickel. “The scholarships help them start the process and the success advisers help ensure they persist to completion. Partnerships are also critical to the work we do. We are grateful for our partnership with the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation, which has helped to broaden our services statewide during the past several years.”