Microsoft Corporation said this weekend that it would be donating more than $2.7 million in software and cash to American Indian tribes in an effort to bridge the "digital divide" in this country. The software and monies will be distributed between several Indian colleges in an attempt to jumpstart computer education at the college level and close the economic gap between Indians and the average American.

"With a high level of poverty and geographical isolation, American Indians are the ethnic group most likely to be caught on the wrong side of the digital divide,'' says Jose C' de Baca, the executive director of the American Indian Science and Technology Education Consortium.

$2.5 million worth of Microsoft software and $200,000 cash will be split evenly among eight tribal colleges located in New Mexico, Kansas, Washington, Montana, and Minnesota. Additionally, New Mexico Highlands University will receive $60,000 from Microsoft to begin a training program and mentoring institution for tribal colleges. President Clinton, coincidentally, will visit one of the New Mexico tribal colleges benefiting from the gifts today