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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Fort Lewis College sees record enrollment of Native students
by Native American Times
DURANGO, CO – Fort Lewis College welcomed its most academically-prepared freshmen class ever this fall. This year’s freshmen class carries an overall index score of 101, far above the required 92 index score and the highest overall index score in College history.

The new admission standards call for students admitted to Fort Lewis to have a CCHE Admission Index Score of 92 or better. This compares to the 86 score required in fall 2007. The index score is obtained by factoring a student’s ACT or SAT score with their high school GPA or class rank.

The increase in standards in fall 2008 moved the College into the selective tier of Colorado public colleges and universities. The College has been pursuing the goal of admitting students who are more academically-prepared since 2002.

“I am gratified by our success in attracting the finest academically-prepared freshmen class in our history,” said Fort Lewis College President Brad Bartel. “The new admission standards clearly aligned the student quality with the already existing high quality of our faculty and degree programs.”

Another motivation for raising the admission standards was to admit more academically-focused students in the hope that the loss of students because of academic and/or maturity issues would be minimized.

Also of special note are the 758 Native American students who now attend Fort Lewis College, the highest number FLC has ever seen. This number represents 20 percent of the student body, the highest percentage of Native American students in more than a decade.

Yvonne Bilinski, director of the FLC Native American Center, says that the Center has been swamped with students this year, the majority of them being new students.

The College has a long history with the Native American peoples of this country. The original Fort Lewis, a military fort built in the late 1800s, eventually evolved into an educational institution and was turned over to the state of Colorado from the Federal Government. Accompanying this transition, a Sacred Trust was created that said that any Native American from a federally-recognized tribe would be provided an education at Fort Lewis free of tuition.

This Sacred Trust continues today at Fort Lewis College and draws Native American students from more than 100 tribes from all over the country.

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