The American Indian Recruitment Program
Created in 1993, at San Diego State University and in partnership with the Dept. of American Indian Studies, the American Indian Recruitment (AIR) Program has been established with the ideals of promoting higher education and success in academics in the American Indian community. To successfully achieve such an ideal the AIR Program is dedicated towards the successful completion of high school for our student participants. The AIR Program, therefore, offers supplemental educational instruction through tutoring, mentoring, and various activities designed to achieve success within high school and higher education.Today we continue in developing our program that include partnerships with the University of San Diego, the University of California, San Diego, California State University, San Marcos, and Palomar and Cuyamaca Community Colleges.
Since our creation, we have served nearly 1000 students with a majority pursuing higher education. This statistic is significant, as we have, through our approach, have helped many of our “at risk” students graduate and pursue higher education. As a result, in 2009, our program was honored with the Pacific Sociological Association's Social Conscience Award and in 2010, KPBS/Union Bank honored our program acknowledging the program director with the Local Heroes Award for community service. However, our most significant statistic is having our students attend Stanford, Cal State San Marcos, Northern Arizona University, UC Davis, Humbolt State Univerisity, SDSU, the University of San Diego and many more. Many more have pursued higher education at our local Community Colleges. Today, many of our past students serve on their Tribal Councils, as Tribal Police, nurses, teachers, and more. Our success comes directly through the implementation of methods we have developed and the cooperative efforts that have been established with our community.
As stated previously, the AIR program was created to address the lack of American Indian participation within higher education and to promote higher education among our student participants. In the begining we cited many statistics that showed that American Indians fell far behind the majority of of the US population. These statistics included that only 52% of American high school students graduate from high school. Of that 52% only 17% attend college and of that 17% only 4% graduate from college. Today, although Indians have gained ground in many areas they still remain behind the rest of American society. The AIR Program firmly believes in our mission statement and hopes to bring greater successes to those who our disadvantaged within our community.