Building Alaska Native and rural leaders

Photo of 2015 RAHI graduates

Photo of 20015 RAHI graduate

For many Alaska Native and rural students, attending a university seems overwhelming. One classroom can have more people than a student's entire hometown.

Concerned by high dropout rates for these students, leaders at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Alaska Federation of Natives came together to find an innovative solution. In 1983, the university created the Rural Alaska Honors Institute to help Alaska Native and rural students adjust academically and socially to college life. Since then, more than 1,700 students have graduated from the program.

RAHI offers six challenging weeks of hands-on learning and community service. The work prepares Alaska's next generation of leaders for superior academic performance. While living at the Fairbanks campus, students earn up to 11 college credits. These students return home ready to excel at college and grow into leaders in their communities and Alaska.

Rural Alaska Native students who attend RAHI are nearly twice as likely to successfully earn a bachelor's degree, according to an independent study by the American Institutes for Research.

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