Native American Excellence in Education Grant

Southeastern Oklahoma State University has a long and successful history of providing higher education opportunities for Native American students. One such opportunity is the Native American Excellence in Education Grant. NAEIE is a federal grant designed to assist students of Native American descent in the completion of a degree in teacher education and to become certified to teach in Oklahoma public schools.

The project, a collaboration between Southeastern and the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations of Oklahoma, with the support of the local public schools, provides support and training for 12 Native American students in completing a pre-service education program that leads to a Bachelor of Education degree. Students receive additional training and support regarding Native American learning and culture. Participants receive full tuition, fees, books, childcare, laptop computers and living stipends. After graduating, the students teach in schools with at least a 5% Native American student population.

The grant comes from the United States Department of Education as part of the Office of Indian Education’s Professional Development program, which trains qualified individuals to become teachers and administrators in Indian communities.

Southeastern and The Choctaw Nation received the initial Native American Excellence in Education grant in 2005. Since then, the grant has been renewed twice, allowing a new cohort of students to participate in the program each time. During the last renewal, the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma added their support to the endeavor.

“There is a large population of Native American students in Southeastern Oklahoma, and a disproportionate number of Native American teachers. The scholarships offered through this grant provide a tremendous opportunity to graduate teachers who can serve as role models to children of the same ethnicity,” said Choctaw Nation Chief Gregory E. Pyle.

The grant demonstrates the strong partnership that exists between Southeastern and the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations of Oklahoma and their shared commitment to provide opportunities for quality education.