WorkingNation sat down with Albert at SXSW EDU 2023 in Austin.
She says “A lot of the student experience is one of having to be the main provider for the family. Having an average income of between $20,000 and $35,000 while you’re trying to afford college that ranges between $18,000 and $26,000 a year. That’s the college experience when you look at some of the barriers that our students are experiencing.”
Albert says that wraparound services – which she calls the ‘secret sauce’ – are crucial for students. “I’m so thankful over the past 20 years to have some very strong partners who believe in us being the subject matter experts in this and knowing what our students need and making sure that they have Native people who can reach out to them and provide those extra support systems.”
Native Forward Scholars Fund provides between $11-$15 million in scholarships to Native students from over 500 tribes in all 50 states at 1,700 campuses, including tribal colleges. Albert – who was raised on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana and is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes – notes, “About 8% of tribal students go to tribal colleges and universities. I am a proud alum of a tribal college.”
Learn more about Native Forward Scholars Fund.