|Oglala Lakota College recognized for helping students "beat the odds"|
|Wednesday, 31 August 2011 16:04|
You might say that some minority students have a better chance than ever to receive a college degree. The Oglala Lakota College is "Beating the Odds" to graduate students who may otherwise struggle with education. That distinction comes from a report by a Washington, D.C. public advocacy firm.
OLC President Thomas Shortbull says, "'Beating the Odds' are basically those institutions that are in minority communities and impoverished areas of the country because with those types of circumstances. There's less likelihood of having high levels of graduates from those communities."
The Oglala Lakota College is recognized along with 32 other higher education organizations as being the best for tribal education.
Shortbull says, "They looked at all of the tribal colleges that were producing the most graduates with bachelors degrees and I think that's how we were determined one of the institutions that was beating the odds."
But overcoming the odds it's not an easy task. OLC has no prerequisites for enrollment, and one of the biggest problems they say they face is getting newly enrolled students to the point where they can handle your typical college level courses.
Shortbull says, "If they don't have the reading and math skills, they immediately go into remedial education. That's the biggest challenge that we have is to move students who come in with what some institutions might call limited skills and move them through the institution."
But once the students make it through the remedial classes, OLC says their coursework is comparable to that of other South Dakota higher education institutions.
Shortbull says, "Our courses are at the same rigor as you'd find at Black Hills State or the University of South Dakota. We don't lower our standards simply because we have students that come in having to have remedial courses."
With just over 200 students receiving degrees or certificates this year, Oglala Lakota College says their goal is to rebuild the Lakota Nation one student and one graduate at a time.