Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Name

Educational Leadership

Department or School/College

School of Education

Committee Co-chair

Frances L. O'Reilly, David Aronofsky

Commitee Members

Roberta Evans, John Matt, Kathryn Shanley


Native American


University of Montana


This mixed method study examined the utilization of educational resources available to 44 Native American students. One-half initially attended a tribal college, and one-half Native American students who initially attended a non-tribal college. The qualitative process involved face-to-face interviews with the participants at the seven Montana tribal colleges. The resources included: mentoring programs, library services, financial aid assistance, distance learning programs, disability services, scholarships' applications process assistance, assistance in use of computers and the skills needed, tutors, student organizations, and academic counselors.

The data from the first phase of the study were illustrated by the use of tables and descriptive narrative. The data were transcribed and subjected to data analyses as recommended by Strauss and Corbin (1990), Tesch (1990), and Creswell (1994). A grounded theory approach to produce a core category from the data yielded the following subcategories: (a) Barriers, (b) Success, (c) Challenges, (d) Clubs, (e) Family support, (f) Family member with college experience, and (g) Military experience. Further qualitative analyses of the data resulted in the following core category: "Native American Students Persisting in Higher Education."

The second phase of the study involved a satisfaction survey of the educational resources utilized by each individual. The data from the satisfaction survey were ordinal data and the frequencies for the College's Services Satisfaction Survey were compiled.

Tribal Colleges and Universities supported the students in acquiring financial aid and scholarships. All college experiences must include space and time for the re-creation of "family" in order for Native American students to persist and earn a baccalaureate year degree.



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