This week the Montana University System received a $25,000 Grant from the Lumina Foundation’s fund for Racial Justice and Equity. Angela McLean, who serves as the Director of American Indian and Minority achievement for the office of the Commissioner of Higher Education for the Montana University System, says there was a lot of competition for the grant.

"We were really excited," McLean said. "It sounds like we were one of 19 grants that were awarded out of over 300 applications from campuses and systems all across the country who work to make a difference in regards to an under served population. We are really excited about working with Lumina."

McLean says the money will be spent with a focus on American Indian student recruitment, retention and completion in the university system and pointed out a gap in the statewide retention rate.

"The data for American Indian students being retained shows us that 56.6 percent of our American Indian students were retained from fall to fall," McLean said. "Now you compare that with the overall number of undergraduates who are being retained and that number is 69.7 percent, so there is a gap there."

There are some signs of improvement for American Indian students in Montana according to McLean, last school year the Montana University System saw a six percent increase in American Indian student enrollment as well as about a one percent increase in American Indian student retention.