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Biden-Harris Administration Announces Increased Investment in Tribal Colleges and Universities-Head Start Partnership Program

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced funding for the Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCU)-Head Start Partnership Program, which invests in degrees and credentials for staff in American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) Head Start programs. The investment of $2 million recently announced increases the annual ACF investment in this critical partnership to $8 million per year. The initiative will result in more than 700 tribal educators graduating with a degree in early childhood by 2028.

“Through this important partnership, TCUs and AIAN Head Start programs build career pathways in early childhood education for Native Americans and address the staffing needs of tribal Head Start programs,” said ACF Acting Assistant Secretary Jeff Hild. “The TCU-Head Start partnership program reaffirms TCUs’ invaluable role in Indigenous education and early childhood development.”

The TCUs receiving grants submitted proposals unique to their local AIAN community needs, strengths, and resources in partnership with Head Start programs. The partnerships have a successful history of committing to specific targets for degrees and credentials to expand the number of early childhood educators in tribal communities. The additional investment boosts TCUs’ capacity to increase access to higher education programs, expand cultural and linguistic Indigenous knowledge, offer scholarships, and support students pursuing early care and education degrees.

“Each TCU-Head Start partnership is responsive to the culture and language of their tribe, while practically addressing staffing challenges in the early childhood sector by building up a new cadre of early educators,” said Khari Garvin, director of the ACF Office of Head Start. “This investment promotes indigenous culture and education, setting the stage for lifelong learning and cultural preservation.”

The 2023 grant recipients of the TCU-Head Start partnership program are:

  • Bay Mills Community College, MI
  • College of Menominee Nation, WI
  • Salish Kootenai Community College, MT

They join this cohort of previous grant recipients:

  • Navajo Technical University, NM
  • Salish Kootenai Community College, MT
  • Stone Child Community College, MT
  • Fond Du Lac Community College, MN
  • White Earth Community College, MN
  • Cankdeska Cikana Community College, ND