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December 27, 2005

New program aimed at American Indian college students

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The state plans to start a program this summer in
an attempt to increase the number of American Indian students who earn
college degrees.

The Gear-Up program is designed to help students from the reservation adjust
to college life, said Keith Moore, director of South Dakota’s Indian
Education office.

It will prepare middle school and high school students for classes and give
senior high students a six-week experience at a university during the summer,
said Moore.

“What we’re hoping is these kids will feel comfortable heading off to
college,” Moore said.

The Gear-Up program is modeled after a similar one on the Pine Ridge Indian
Reservation. That program has led to an increase the number of Indian
students who graduate from college, said Moore.

The state received a $6.9 million matching federal grant to take the program
statewide for six years.

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