Bill Offers Tuition Break for Native Americans

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown February 10th, 2014 Last Updated on: February 10th, 2014

American Indians from 48 tribes would be eligible for in-state college tuition anywhere in Colorado under a bill that advanced Wednesday at the Legislature.

Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, said his bill will help Native American students graduate. They are among the least likely demographic groups to attend college.

“We spend a considerable amount of time recruiting students to come here, but they don’t stay because of money,” Salazar said.

His House Bill 1124 would allow students from any tribe with historic ties to Colorado to qualify for in-state tuition at any of the state’s public colleges and universities.

The House Education Committee approved it on a 9-4 vote.

The lone exception to Salazar’s bill would be Fort Lewis College, which already grants free tuition to Native Americans, regardless of their tribes’ historic links to the state. Right now, the state spends about $15 million a year on the Native American Tuition Waiver at FLC.

FLC officials have talked about HB 1124, but they don’t think it will have a negative effect on Native American recruitment at the Durango campus, said Steve Schwartz, vice president of finance and administration.

“At Fort Lewis, it’s still free. We still have that price benefit that the other schools don’t,” he said.

In any case, with so few American Indian students attending college, there are plenty of potential students to go around, he said.

“If it helps Native American students to get educated, then that’s a positive for the Native population,” Schwartz said.

Read more on the story from The Durango Herald.


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About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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Sandra Zaste

My daughter got excepted to Washington state university!! Im very proud she is the first to graduate n go to college…we are tribal members she is chippewa turtle mnt n.dakota im flathead from st ignatius mt. So any info regarding financial help would mean alot. She is working at arbys to pay for tuition housing fees. My girl has done it all so far alone…..plz I want to be able to help her..

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