Tribal Colleges are established by and for Indian tribes to provide higher education to Native people and to maintain community values and traditions. Tribal colleges and universities offer everything from certificate programs to associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, and are located from the Midwest all the way to the Pacific Northwest. Because they are located on or near remote, rural Indian reservations, they also serve as an opportunity for affordable, easily accessible higher education in surrounding rural communities. Most Tribal Colleges also have dual-enrollment programs where local high school students can get high school and college credit through the tribal college.

Tribal College history is rather brief in comparison to traditional colleges in the United States.

Tribal Colleges In Every State

Ilisagvik College

Diné College
Tohono O’odham Community College

Haskell Indian Nations University

Bay Mills Community College
Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College
Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College
Leech Lake Tribal College
Red Lake Nation College
White Earth Tribal and Community College

Aaniiih Nakoda College (Ft. Belknap)
Blackfeet Community College
Chief Dull Knife College
Fort Peck Community College
Little Big Horn College
Salish Kootenai College
Stone Child College

North Dakota
Cankdeska Cikana Community College
Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College (Fort Berthold)
Sitting Bull College
Turtle Mountain Community College
United Tribes Technical College

Little Priest Tribal College
Nebraska Indian Community College

New Mexico
Institute of American Indian Arts
Navajo Technical University
Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute

College of the Muscogee Nation

South Dakota
Sinte Gleska University
Sisseton Wahpeton College
Oglala Lakota College

Northwest Indian College

College of Menominee Nation
Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Community College

Best Tribal Colleges – Methodology

Affordability (25%)
Though it doesn’t play a huge role in the the success of college, affordability in this day and age is very important to students who are looking to have a successful career on a budget. It is roughly about 25% of our overall ranking determination. Tuition rate is weighted 4th in our determination of best colleges.

Peer Review (25%)
In order to derive a peer review score, we look to rankings and “strong programs” data published by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Fiske Guide. Each utilizes thousands of student, faculty, and/or administrative surveys/questionnaires to identify colleges that offer strong majors/programs within a particular field. Alone, peer assessment surveys are subject to a fair amount of bias. However, when evaluated in sum and when considered along with more objective data–such as that examining selectivity, earnings, emphasis, and productivity–they can provide more complete and corroborative insight into the strength of a particular program/major.

Graduation Rate (25%)
If a (relatively) high percentage of students at a particular college are studying a specific major, it is likely that the major attracts a relatively high amount of resources. Moreover, if a college enrolls a relatively high percentage of all students (in the U.S.) studying a particular major (i.e. it has a large market share), it is likely that the college has been identified (by both prospective students, employers, and other stakeholders) as a leader in that subject area. Though the latter may appear to encourage bias against smaller institutions or programs, it is important to account for the fact that larger programs may attract more tuition revenue, have a better ability to meet fixed costs, and thus greater opportunity to invest in program/major offerings.

In order to measure major emphasis (i.e. the percentage college’s students enrolling in a particular major) and market share (i.e. the percentage of all students studying a major that are enrolled in a particular college), we relied on data collected by National Center for Education Statistics and as reported by WebCaspar.

In our general rankings we take a look at the top degree programs for that school and compare it to schools with similar demographics to determine it’s 25% consensus.

Graduate Earnings (25%)
To measure graduate earnings, we relied on data provided by, which indicates both early-career and mid-career wages of students by college and by category of major. For example, PayScale provides salary data for student attending Boston University and majoring in engineering, which is different from salary data for students attending Boston University and majoring in business.

Both early-career wages and mid-career wages were analyzed, given that the former is typically an indicator of how employers perceive the quality of a particular major/program, while the latter indicates how well a major/program may have prepared students for work.

Though PayScale provides important insight into earning differences across institutions, it has significant limitations–data ere self-reported and encompass major groupings rather than specific majors. For example, all social science majors are grouped together, as are majors within the humanities, physical and life sciences, and other broad academic categories. Thus, distinctions between political science and economics or biology and physics are not possible. Nevertheless, given PayScale’s massive sample size (nearly 1.5 million different individuals across approximately 1000 institutions) and ability to gather earnings information for both early-career and mid-career graduates, we believe the use of such data in our analysis was justified.

  1. Salish Kootenai College
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    Salish Kootenai College (SKC) is a Native American tribal college based in Pablo, Montana which serves the Bitterroot Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d’Oreilles tribes. The SKC’s main campus is on the Flathead Reservation. There are three satellite locations in Washington in Colville, Spokane, and Wellpinit. Approximately 1,207 students attend SKC. Although enrollment is not limited to Native American students, SKC’s primary function is to serve the needs of Native American people.

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  2. Stone Child College
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    Stone Child College is an accredited tribal college of the Chippewa-Cree Tribe located in Box Elder, Montana. SCC is located on the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation in north central Montana. SCC is one of seven Tribal Colleges in Montana. In 2008–09, SCC had an enrollment of 511, of whom 98 percent were American Indian descent; 20 percent were bilingual or of limited English proficiency. SCC students range in age from 17 to 72, with the average age at 30. The college retention rate is 47 percent and the graduation rate is 20 percent.

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  3. United Tribes Technical College
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    United Tribes Technical College is a tribal college in Bismarck, North Dakota. UTTC has an enrollment 885 students, 635 full-time undergraduates and 250 part-time undergraduates.

    The UTTC was founded in 1969 by an association of North Dakota’s native tribes. The United Tribes of North Dakota Development Corporation chartered UTTC in Bismarck, North Dakota in 1969. The UTTC applied for, and was granted candidacy for accreditation status by the North Central Association in 1978. The UTTC received full membership in NCA as a vocational technical school in spring 1982. In 1987, the UTTC received authority from NCA to offer its first associate degree program. In 2003, the UTTC became the first Tribal College to receive accreditation for online programs offering associate of applied sciences degree programs.

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  4. Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College
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    Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College (LCOOCC) is a technical and community college for the Hayward, Wisconsin area. The college is one of two tribal colleges in the state of Wisconsin (Wisconsin Tribal Colleges). The enrollment averages 550 students. The LCOOC has a main campus in Hayward. More than one-third of students are enrolled at the four outreach sites at Odanah, Bayfield, Hertel, and Lac du Flambeau.

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  5. Tohono O'odham Community College
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    Tohono O’odham Community College is a regionally accredited, publicly supported tribal college in Sells, Arizona. TOCC’s student body is 88 percent American Indian/Alaskan Native. Tohono O’odham Community College serves approximately 216 students (61 percent female; 39 percent male). The college’s faculty/staff is 57 percent American Indian, half of whom are O’odham.

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  6. Iḷisaġvik College
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    Iḷisaġvik College (Inupiaq: [iʎisɑʁβik]) is a public community college in Utqiaġvik, Alaska. Operated by the North Slope Borough, it is the only tribally-controlled college in Alaska and is the northernmost accredited community college in the United States. The college is located within the boundaries of the North Slope, an 89,000-square mile region of Arctic tundra which is not connected by road or rail. It is ice-locked nine months of each year. The region is home to the Inupiat Eskimos.

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  7. Aaniiih Nakoda College
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    The institution incorporates native culture into the curriculum and promotes cultural identity; however, the school is open to both tribal and non-tribal members. Aaniiih Nakoda College is a member of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC), which is a community of tribally and federally chartered institutions working to strengthen tribal nations and make a lasting difference in the lives of American Indians and Alaska Natives.

    ANC was created in response to the higher education needs of American Indians. ANC generally serves geographically isolated populations that have no other means accessing education beyond the high school level.

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  8. Haskell Indian Nations University
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    Haskell Indian Nations University is a federally operated tribal university in Lawrence, Kansas. Founded in 1884 as a residential boarding school for American Indian children, the school has developed as a North Central Association-accredited university that offers both associate and baccalaureate degrees. The college was founded to serve members of federally recognized Native American tribes in the United States.

    Enrollment at the campus is nearly 1,000 students per semester, representing approximately 140 Tribal nations and Alaska Native communities. Haskell is funded directly by the Bureau of Indian Education as a U.S. Trust Responsibility to American Indian Tribes; it does not charge tuition. Students are responsible for paying semester fees.

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  9. Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College
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    Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College is a community college in Cloquet, northern Minnesota. The primary campus is in 38 acres of woods. The satellite campus is in Red Lake. It is the only Tribal and Community College that is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System

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  10. Northwest Indian College
    Average Cost:

    Northwest Indian College (Xwlemi Elh>Tal>Nexw Squl), established by the Lummi Nation, is the only accredited Tribal College or University serving reservation communities of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

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