Mendocino College Reports Highest Percentage of Native American Students Among All California Community Colleges

In spring 2023, 5.56% of the school's students listed themselves as Native American.
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Published on June 12, 2023
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Mendocino College
  • Mendocino College has the highest percentage of Native American students among all community colleges in the state.
  • In spring 2023, 5.56% of students at the school listed themselves as Native American.
  • The college credits the high enrollment numbers in part to its Native American Student Resource Center, Native American cultural events on campus, and collaborations with local tribes.

Mendocino College recorded the highest percentage of Native American students in the California Community Colleges (CCC) system, with 5.56% of its students listing themselves as Native American, the school confirmed to BestColleges.

"We take immense pride in our student population, and the invaluable diversity students bring to our college community," Dr. Tim Karas, president of Mendocino College, said in a statement.

"This achievement reflects our ongoing commitment to cultivating an inclusive and supportive environment for all students, and we remain dedicated to their success and well-being."

Mendocino College hosts many events and programs for Native American students, including Native American Motivation Day and the Native Learning Symposium, a speaker series — featuring local Native American experts, elders, and educators — created to educate about the tribes in the Mendocino-Lake Community College District, according to the school.

Additionally, the college created the Pomo Pathways program in 2018 to help reduce barriers to enrollment and increase retention for adult or returning Native American students.

The program was inspired by Michael Hunter's experience trying to go back to school at Mendocino College, according to California Community Colleges. In 2013, Hunter was elected tribal chairman of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, one of several Pomo tribes in the region.

"I realized it takes courage to register, sign up for tutoring or see a counselor. I didn't want others to go through the same thing I did. If no one helps you, it can be very difficult," he said in a 2019 release.

The program offered several academic courses, according to CCC, along with support services such as onsite tutoring, counseling services, and childcare.

"Mendocino College's accomplishment in attracting and supporting Native American students enriches the educational experience for all students and strengthens the broader California Community College system, and our community as a whole," Mendocino College said in a statement.

"By embracing diversity and fostering cultural understanding, the college is paving the way for a brighter future where all students can thrive."