Built on the land of the Luiseño Indians, California State University San Marcos is proud of its impressive history of engaging the local American Indian population. Our reach extends into 25 tribal communities across San Diego, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties—with18 of those communities located within our service region walls—and our American Indian student population at CSUSM is now at 1%. Through the efforts of a full-time tribal liaison and the efforts of a community-based native advisory council, we continue to build strategic partnerships with these communities—linkages that are producing mutually beneficial outcomes for both CSUSM and its tribal neighbors.
Why is the Tribal Initiative so important? We know that American Indian students have some of the lowest college matriculation rates and highest high school dropout rates in the country. The high school graduation rate among American Indian students remains below 50%, and many of these students drop out even before they reach ninth grade. At CSUSM, we have made reversing these numbers a priority and, through our purposive efforts that drive the Tribal Initiative, we are making progress, and have exponentially increased our recruitment and retention of students from this traditionally underserved student population.