The economic development of American Indian reservations is an essential goal of Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs). This report examines the diverse ways in which TCUs affect local community development, ranging from both direct economic effects—such as the amount spent by the colleges to employ faculty and staff—to broad indirect effects, including increased skill levels and employment in the local workforce, encouragement of small business entrepreneurship, and improvement of land use and agricultural activities. The report indicates that the TCUs are overcoming longstanding barriers facing American Indians to achieve significant advances in income, employment, and educational attainment levels. Recommendations to policymakers and other leaders to advance TCUs efforts include: increased funds under federal legislation to maximize progress and attain self-sufficiency; cooperation and support for regional development; and greater infrastructure capacities, including technology, transportation, and financial institutions.
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Tribal College Contributions to Local Economic Development
Published: February 2000