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Tribal Colleges and Universities - Reservation Entrepreneurship and Business Development

May 2021

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Tribal Colleges and Universities White PaperTribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) offer higher educational opportunities for American Indian students and are unique in that they combine cultural relevance with their degree outcomes. TCUs offer associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, as well as vocational programs and certificates.

This paper considers the role of TCUs and in particular the role of TCU curriculum in business development and entrepreneurship in tribal areas. We utilize existing data on TCU curriculum and tribal area characteristics and consider whether and to what extent entrepreneurship on reservations varies according to TCU curriculum in entrepreneurship courses and hands-on learning. We find TCUs with courses in business and entrepreneurship are associated with higher levels of self-employment, median earnings, and education on their respective reservations compared with other remote tribal reservations.