Foundation Funding to Support Native American Students
April 14, 2022 - The Freeport-McMoRan Foundation recently committed $6 million to a partnership aimed at increasing access and higher education completion rates among Native American students in Arizona.
The Freeport-McMoRan Native American Scholarship Program will support two cohorts of 100 Native American students with scholarships of up to $6,000 annually to help them attain a postsecondary certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree, along with critical support services provided by Education Forward Arizona to help ensure they have the best possible opportunity to complete their program. The first cohort will be selected this fall, with the second being chosen in the fall of 2023.
“We feel it is critical to increase the effort to ensure Native American students have greater opportunity to achieve higher education and the socio-economic mobility it enables,” said Tracy Bame, Director-Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Development and President of the Freeport-McMoRan Foundation. “We 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.”
Over the previous 12 years, the Foundation has provided more than 374 scholarships to Native American students. In noting the continued need, Bame pointed out that Arizona has the second-largest population of Native American students in the country, but with a postsecondary education completion rate of just 12 percent compared with 46 percent across the entire state.
Eligible students must be an enrolled member of one of the 14 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. More information about the Foundation’s support of Native American initiatives can be found here.
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 mentoring sessions, enrollment counseling, financial tracking and other support services from Education Forward Arizona to ensure they are best positioned for educational success.
“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 over the past several years.”
Photos (left to right): Lourdes Pereira, Tohono O’odham nation member, Miss Indigenous ASU 2021 and 2021-22 Freeport Native American scholarship recipient; Tyler Belknap, San Carlos Apache tribal member and 2021-22 Freeport Native American scholarship recipient.