AIHEC American Indian Measures of Success (AIMS)
The data that AIHEC AIMS collects accurately measures American Indian success in higher education and lays the foundation for systemic reform through continued advocacy.
AIHEC’s landmark data collection initiative, American Indian Measures of Success (AIHEC AIMS), was launched in 2004 with generous funding from the Lumina Foundation for Education. AIHEC developed the data collection instrument, AIMS Key Indicator System (AKIS), with input from AIHEC, TCUs, accrediting organizations, American Indian College Fund, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and others. AKIS incorporates unique measures of success that are not included in traditional higher education reporting requirements.
AIHEC AIMS helps build capacity in data collection and accountability at TCUs and, in doing so, strengthens the ability of TCUs to measure success, build the foundation for systemic program change, and ultimately increase the participation and success of American Indian students in higher education.
AIHEC AIMS consists of two parts: quantitative and qualitative. The numbers support the stories, and the stories bring the numbers to life. Together, they help to paint the picture and tell the story of the Tribal College Movement.
One such story comes from Aaron Sansosie of Flatrock, AZ, a U.S. Army veteran, father of four, and Navajo Technical University (NTU) graduate. He is one of thousands of American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) gaining valuable education and technical skills at a TCU to enter the workforce. Aaron graduated from NTU’s certificate program and their Building Information Modeling applied science associate degree program. To achieve his goals, Aaron took 17-19 credits each semester, a heavy workload for any student. While the schedule might seemed grueling for any student, Aaron worked for his degree while living from his truck. “The cost of living here is pretty high, especially in the dorms and having three meals a day. Sometimes Pell Grants won’t cover it all, which leaves me in debt. Even with my veteran benefits, which help me out a lot, [I need to save],” explained Aaron, whose desire to help his family and community overcomes his challenging living situation. The data from AIHEC AIMS helps illuminate the commonality of Aaron’s experience among the Tribal College community:
- 16% of TCU students are full-time, AI/AN male; 55% of TCU students are full-time; 27% of TCUs are AI/AN male.
- 8% of AI/AN male TCU students are fathers. 33% of all TCU students are parents.
- 2% of TCU students are veterans, and more than half of TCU veterans are AI/AN male.