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How increased federal funding impacts tribal colleges and universities

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Tribal colleges and universities, or TCUs, have long fought for more federal funding, and a new study finds even modest investments by the federal government can have huge impacts for students and Native communities. NPR's Sequoia Carrillo reports.

SEQUOIA CARRILLO, BYLINE: Tribal colleges don't just educate people. They also revitalize languages, preserve cultural knowledge and help feed local families.

MARCELLA BOMBARDIERI: Tribal colleges and universities are not only training people for a host of careers often in very rural and remote communities, they are also playing a really central role in their communities in other ways.

CARRILLO: That's Marcella Bombardieri, author of a new report from the Center for American Progress and the American Indian College Fund. The report looks at how increased federal funding for tribal colleges during the pandemic benefited the schools and their communities. One big finding - colleges that invested that federal money into better broadband access helped connect both their campuses and their surrounding area. Return on investment comes up often in the report. One striking number - every dollar invested in tribal colleges yields more than five times the return in economic and health benefits.

Sequoia Carrillo, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sequoia Carrillo is an assistant editor for NPR's Education Team. Along with writing, producing, and reporting for the team, she manages the Student Podcast Challenge.