Three tribal colleges recently founded in California boost low college retention and graduation rates because they offer Native students a sense of belonging in a state where 330,000 Californians belong to federally recognized tribes. At California Indian Nations College and Kumeyaay Community College, enrollment has been steady or increased during the pandemic, and a third tribal college will open its doors in fall 2021. Over 180 students from more than 50 tribes have attended California Indian Nations College since 2018, and enrollment rose by 10% from 2020 to 2021. KCC focuses on Kumeyaay language, arts, culture, and history intending to reverse erasure, says President Stan Rodriguez.

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