Mississippi Band of Choctaw postsecondary school Scholarship Program and its impact on return to the reservation: A case study

Rose Marie Neblett
School of Education, George Washington University
July, 2006


The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions, beliefs, and feelings of the postsecondary students who were using the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Scholarship Program. The study gathered information from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw ('Chok ta or 'Skok ta) postsecondary students living on or near the reservation on their personal experiences with, and usability of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Scholarship Program, and their reintegration to their communities. The focus of this study was to explore the perceptions of those using a scholarship program for higher education in one Native American community, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI). A series of fourteen interviews consisting of thirty-four questions were conducted individually with present and former postsecondary Mississippi Band of Choctaw postsecondary students. Questions were also asked of some of the students' parents, and Tribal council members who had knowledge of the use or continued to use the Scholarship Program. Qualitative methods were used to develop a case study for each postsecondary student. There were nine major findings: (1) wanting their families psychologically supporting them in their quest for a higher education degree, (2) maximize monies received by the Scholarship Program to address their immediate and holistic needs, (3) never wanting to repeat leaving home to live in mainstream society for any length of time, (4) education was not ultimately valued, (5) personal reasons, as opposed to academic reasons, were common themes for not completing a degree, (6) Scholarship Program would always be available, so there was no urgency to attend college, (7) believed that the Scholarship Program was the only way they could have attended a postsecondary institution, (8) attributed the program as providing an opportunity to attend college, even if for a short time, and (9) attending college afforded them some form of employment on the Mississippi Band of Choctaw reservation.