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The major components of social structure are culture, social class, social status roles, groups, and social institutions. Use social structure to explain why Indigenous people in the United States have such a low rate of college graduation.

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College graduation rates vary across social groups because of the inequities inherent to modern American social structure.

In the United States, Indigenous people are marginalized by many systemic forces. They have some of the highest demographic poverty rates in the nation, and many live on reservations with inadequate resources and low government investment. As a group, they're also often left out of the broader political dialogue and locked out of positions of power by the status quo.

The more adversity a group faces, the more energy and resources they're forced to use on basic survival, and the harder it is to achieve other things. Consider, for example, focusing when you're trying to write a paper. That may be easy for you under normal circumstances, or it may not, but how might that experience change if you're watching a small child at the same time, or if you're hungry, or if you're sick or injured? While this isn't an exact analog to the systemic problems faced by marginalized groups in the United States, it does highlight the way additional barriers can inhibit academic achievement—even with identical capabilities, the person who can afford a babysitter or enough to eat or adequate healthcare will always do better than the one who can't.

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