University Mentor Program

We are committed to student success… so much so that we have established partnerships with a number of colleges and universities across the country to guide our young Lakota students through the college application, financial aid and scholarship process and continue to support them well after they’ve left the doors of our institution.

Red Cloud Indian School-Creighton Mentorship Program

The Red Cloud Indian School-Creighton Mentorship Program is part of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation school’s comprehensive programming to ensure students have the tools and resources they need to apply to the nation’s top colleges and universities. For nearly 10 years, Red Cloud and Creighton have been pairing Lakota students with college faculty, advising the high school seniors on scholarship opportunities, evaluating academic opportunities at higher education institutions and offering writing techniques to help the students prepare strong applications.

  • A major part of the partnership is completing the applications for the Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholarship, which covers any unmet financial need for students in college. 
  • Face-to-face meeting between the students and mentors give way to relationships that continue through email and phone calls so they can continue to dialogue and eventually celebrate college acceptances and scholarship award announcements. 

South Dakota University Mentorship Program

Red Cloud has also joined forces with South Dakota’s three state universities to establish a University Mentor Program for Lakota juniors and seniors. The goal of the program is not just to increase the number of Red Cloud students enrolling in state schools, but also to begin to create a community of people away from the reservation who can support students throughout their college career.

  • In the late fall of their senior year, the faculty mentors travel to Red Cloud and help the students finish their college applications and essays, and apply for scholarships. 
  • The mentorship evolves during that student’s first year of college, serving as a familiar face—and a friend—as they navigate through their four years of college. 
  • The program includes public institutions throughout the state, like University of South Dakota, South Dakota State University and Black Hills State University. 


Since the program’s inception, high school graduates have moved on to institutions like Princeton, Dartmouth, Arizona State, Marquette and Creighton, among many others. Students have earned 59 Gates Millennium Scholarships, the highest per capita in the country.