Central Wyoming College and the Northern Arapaho Business Council have reached an agreement to begin offering college courses on the Wind River Reservation.
Ivan Posey, CWC's tribal education coordinator and a citizen of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, said the partnership has been in the works for over a year.
"The idea all along was to get more classes available on the reservation instead of having some students drive all the way to Riverton," Posey said. "Because there are always factors associated with that, whether it's transportation issues or gas money or just, life happens."
Under the new partnership, called "CWC Wind River," students will be able to earn up to 30 college credits without leaving the reservation.
CWC will provide instructors and the Northern Arapaho Tribe will provide support staff for the courses. Students will have access to CWC resources including financial aid, tutoring, and academic advising.
Posey said the goal is to eventually offer full degree programs on the reservation, but that the current arrangement will offer tribal students a good start.
"Our student body here is over 50 percent non-traditional. They're coming back to school. Some may have small children," he said. "By starting this process, [earning a degree] will be more attainable for tribal students."
CWC Wind River courses begin this fall semester and will be held in Ethete.