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South Dakota State University receives grant for Igluwiyeya

South Dakota State University, in partnership with Sinte Gleska University, has received $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the Igluwiyeya (Prepare oneself): Pathways from Preparation to Graduation at Land-Grant Institutions. Igluwiyeya is Lakota for prepare oneself.

This project addresses the critical need for South Dakota’s tribal students to prepare for, transition to and ultimately graduate from an institution of higher education. The Igluwiyeya program is a collaboration amongst South Dakota State University, Sinte Gleska University (including its additional branch locations of Lower Brule Community College and Ihanktonwan Community College) and tribal high schools serving the Rosebud, Yankton, Crow Creek and Lower Brule Sioux Tribal communities.

“Igluwiyeya is an important initiative to fulfill the goals and objectives of the Wokini Initiative by providing access and resources to American Indians seeking the benefits of higher education,” said SDSU President Barry H. Dunn. “I am grateful to our congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., who led the effort for funding in the 2020 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, which supports partnerships like Igluwiyeya. We look forward to working with Sinte Gleska University and creating a pathway for student success in higher education.”

The project builds upon the success of SDSU’s Wokini Initiative and leverages existing student programs at the tribal high schools, SDSU and partnering tribal colleges and universities, to create additional programs, sustainable resources to increase outreach and support for American Indian students interested in pursuing higher education.

Igluwiyeya has identified the following outcomes:

  • increase students’ awareness of and preparation for higher education opportunities;
  • increase American Indian student and family knowledge of tribal workforce development needs, college preparation programs, higher education options and the process of applying for college, scholarships and financial aid (FASFA); and
  • increase the rate of entry into postsecondary educational institutions for American Indian students and increase the rate of persistence and graduation.

To achieve those outcomes, Igluwiyeya will allow SDSU and Sinte Gleska to hire three individuals to be college access liaisons. The liaisons will develop models to provide a student-centered approach to increase college access and degree attainment for American Indian students.

SDSU increased its efforts to support Native students when the university launched the Wokini Initiative in 2016 to provide innovative university- and community wide collaboration to strengthen American Indian student success by building authentic partnerships with tribal communities.

“The Wokini Initiative helps to clear the path for Native students on their journey to and through higher education at SDSU,” said Shana Harming, SDSU’s director of Wokini and tribal relations. “Igluwiyeya, when combined with the Wokini Initiative, will develop an American Indian Pathways model to increase access to higher education and increase graduation rates of American Indians.

“This funding also allows for additional outreach and student support in partnering tribal high schools where college access liaisons will promote higher education and work with middle and high school students and those attending tribal colleges,” she continued. “The liaisons will also provide an overview of career opportunities within their tribal communities so students can align those careers with available degrees from their local tribal colleges and universities and SDSU.”

In addition, SDSU’s American Indian Student Center will host a three-day middle school and five-day high school summer program in June 2021. Students will stay in the SDSU residential halls to experience campus life and become familiar with the campus and available student resources.