A Tribal College Gets Down to Basics

A Tribal College Gets Down to Basics 1

Kristine Paulsen for The Chronicle

Susie Sanchez-Goss, a cosmetologist, is working toward an associate degree in business management at Salish Kootenai College.

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Kristine Paulsen for The Chronicle

Susie Sanchez-Goss, a cosmetologist, is working toward an associate degree in business management at Salish Kootenai College.

Salish Kootenai College has a crisis of retention. Three-quarters of its 1,000 students come to the college, in Pablo, Mont., needing remedial courses. Half of those students end up dropping out. "You can't lose 50 percent of 75 percent of your students," says Stacey A. Sherwin, associate director of institutional research. "Do the math."

Administrators at the four-year tribal college, which serves more than 60 percent first-generation students, knew they needed to revamp its remedial