Colorados New Law Extends In
The Colorado State House in Denver, where this year the legislature passed a bill that extends … in-state tuition to Native American students who live in other states.
The state of Colorado is providing Native American students from out of state the opportunity to attend any of its public universities and colleges at the institutions in-state tuition rate.
Senate Bill 29, signed into law this summer by Gov. Jared Polis,states that beginning with the 2021-22 academic year, Colorados public institutions of higher education shall adopt policies to offer in-state tuition to students who would not otherwise qualify for it if the student is a federally recognized member of a federally recognized American Indian tribe with historical ties to Colorado, as designated by the Colorado Commission of Indian affairs in partnership with History Colorado.
According to The Colorado Sun, approximately 200 out-of-state Native American students who are enrolled in Colorados state colleges and universities will be the first beneficiaries of this policy as it kicks in this semester. Each one will have their annual tuition reduced by about $15,000, as will newly enrolled students who meet the criteria.
The bill, which passed with bipartisan support in both chambers of the Colorado General Assembly, further indicates that eligible students may also apply for Colorado Opportunity Fund aid in addition to other state-funded and private financial assistance.
College Tuition Waivers For Native American Students
Many states have enacted laws providing for scholarships, tuition waivers, or grant programs for Native Americans. Most of the states require that students be residents of the state prior to enrolling in a state college/university and/or be a member of a tribe from that state. Students should check with the colleges they are interested to see if Native American scholarships or tuition waivers are offered.
The following states provide in-state tuition rates or tuition waivers to Native American students, with additional requirements such as tribe, state residency or graduation from a BIA high school in that state. Visit the state college/university website and search under Financial Aid for ‘American Indian’ tuition waivers:
In-state tuition for AI students who graduated from a California BIA high school.
In-state tuition for American Indians who have origins in any of the original people of North America and who maintain a cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition with one or more of the tribes or nations connected historically with the present state of Iowa, including the Iowa, Kickapoo, Menominee, Miami, Missouri, Ojibwa , Omaha, Otoe, Ottawa , Potawatomi, Sac and Fox , Sioux, and Winnebago .
Maine University of Maine
Tuition waiver for historical Massachusetts area tribes who are Massachusetts residents.
Tuition waiver for residents of Michigan enrolled in a Michigan tribe. .
Utah and Washington
Return To Normal Flc Works To Address Additional Barriers Faced By Native American Students
FLC?student Nina Polk, like many students across the country, was impacted by the pandemic in the past year./ Photo by Jeremy Wade Shockley/CPR News
After the pandemic sabotaged her senior year of high school lacrosse, Nina Polk was determined not to miss another season.
Although her mom was hesitant to let her go away to college, the family piled into their car in August 2020 to make the 20-plus hour drive from their home in Shakopee, Minn., to Durango where Polk had been recruited to play womens lacrosse at Fort Lewis College.
The liberal arts college, a former Native American boarding school that today offers free tuition to Native students, was Polks dream school. In addition to the tuition waiver, it had everything she was looking for: a Division II sports program, a fine arts major and gorgeous natural surroundings.
It was kind of a package deal for me, said Polk, who is Diné , Sicangu Lakota, San Carlos Apache and Quechan. The first few weeks, it was kind of hard to adjust, because of just being away from home. But with everyone here, and my teammates, they just made it a whole lot easier. And the Native community here, too, I dont feel alone.
Then the pandemic hit, throwing up additional obstacles. Last fall, the share of Native American students enrolled in college for the first time plummeted by almost a quarter, more than for any other racial or ethnic group, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.
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Total Required For Graduation
a Check course description for minimum grade in prerequisite course required to enroll in this course.
b A minimum of 15 credits of coursework must be completed in the combined areas of AH/HI/SS.
Note: Among the total credits required for graduation, at least 36 credits must be upper division courses.
Note: Students completing the Liberal Arts Core in fewer than 33 credits will have additional free electives.
Note: Students who have met a prerequisite or required course through transfer, examinations, or assessment of prior learning will have additional free electives.
For One Native Student At Fort Lewis College Lacrosse And Family Were A Lifeline As The Pandemic Disrupted Classes
This story was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education.
After the pandemic sabotaged her senior year of high school lacrosse, Nina Polk was determined not to miss another season.
Although her mom was hesitant to let her go away to college, the family piled into their car in August 2020 to make the 20-plus hour drive from their home in Shakopee, Minnesota, to Durango, Colorado, where Polk had been recruited to play womens lacrosse at Fort Lewis College.
The liberal arts college, a former Native American boarding school that today offers free tuition to Native American students, was Polks dream school. In addition to the tuition waiver, it had everything she was looking for: a division II sports program, a fine arts major and gorgeous natural surroundings.
It was kind of a package deal for me, said Polk, who is Diné , Siangu Lakota, San Carlos Apache and Quechan. The first few weeks, it was kind of hard to adjust, because of just being away from home. But with everyone here, and my teammates, they just made it a whole lot easier. And the Native community here, too, I don’t feel alone.
Connection to community is very centered on who we are who we have been throughout the generations, said Megan Red Shirt-Shaw, the director of Native student services at the University of South Dakota, who is Oglala Lakota. But the pandemic made finding those connections even more difficult.
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Seeking Stability In Fort Lewis College Tuition Waiver
- Original: Jul 11, 2012
This is the third in a four-part series about the Native American tuition waiver at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.
As government budgets continue to suffer the repercussions of the economic recession, line items in the Colorado Department of Higher Education are being cut left and right, except for one: Fort Lewis Colleges tuition waiver.
The $13 million annual cost, which goes to Fort Lewis College to cover the tuition of every Native American student, has grown steadily. Native Americans now make up about one-fifth of the colleges 3,900-person student body. About 85 percent of the Native American students are from outside Colorado, meaning the state must reimburse the college at the nonresident tuition rate of $16,072 for those students.
The tuition waiver dates back to 1911, when the federal government offered Colorado 6,279 acres of land south of Hesperus that became FLCs former campus. In exchange, Colorado agreed to maintain the land as an institution of learning that would admit Native American students tuition free.
Despite being a contractual obligation, the tuition waiver faced two challenges to its funding, most recently in 2010. And with increasing state cuts to higher education, Fort Lewis College administrators have turned to Congress to create a more sustainable funding source for the tuition waiver.
Its a fairness issue, the state of Colorado has been supporting out-of-state students for a very long time, Thomas said.
Fort Lewis College Shows The Way As Colorado Considers Tuition Change For Native Americans
When he was applying for colleges as a high school student in Hominy, Oklahoma, Noah Shadlow didnt have many options.
Not wanting to become a financial strain to his parents and siblings, he had his eyes trained on a small, Native American student-only university in Kansas, due to its low tuition. Then, he heard about Fort Lewis College in Durango.
I liked that I could attend without having to pay tuition through the tuition waiver, he said. I enjoy being around, like, my Native American friends back where I’m from. So I kinda wanted to keep that atmosphere going. Fort Lewis provided that to me.
Fort Lewis Colleges history is unique for a higher education institute. The land was initially an army post built after the Civil War. In 1891, the base was decommissioned and turned into a federal, off-reservation Native American Boarding School, which forced tribal students to abandon their cultural identities and assimilate into white, Euro-centric culture.
The boarding school was transferred to the state in 1911, on the grounds that it would become an educational institute that doesnt charge tuition for Native American students. More than 100 years later, that mandate still stands, benefiting students like Shadlow.
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College Specific Tuition Programs
Several colleges and universities have special tuition-free or reduced tuition programs for Native American students. For example, Fort Lewis College in Colorado provides a tuition waiver for any student who is a member of a recognized tribe in North America. A similar program is available at the University of Minnesota, Morris. Some post-secondary institutions offer reduced tuition or in-state tuition programs for American Indian students. For example, state universities in Oklahoma, California, Iowa, Utah and Washington offer in-state tuition for tribal enrollees.
Becoming A Liberal Arts College
Colorado officials initially established Fort Lewis as an agricultural and mechanical high school, but by 1927 college courses were offered to ensure that local youth had access to higher education. Initially affiliated with Colorado State College of Mechanics and Arts , by 1948 Fort Lewis had cut ties with its larger institution to the northwest while maintaining an emphasis on agriculture and mechanics.
In the postwar period, Fort Lewis hosted an increasing number of veterans, but indigenous student enrollment remained low. As farming became less and less profitable for many southern Coloradans, college administrators began to question the agricultural focus of the institution. In 1954 President Dale Rea suggested that the college move to a new location in Durango, a mere sixty miles from its original site in Hesperus. Local Grange organizations and other farmers were concerned that this move signaled the end of Fort Lewiss agricultural focus, and their apprehensions were well-founded. By 1956 the facilities had moved to Durango, and six years later Fort Lewis would open its doors as a four-year liberal arts college, boasting seven majors.
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Colorado Law Gives Native Americans In
Colorado has approved a bill that allows Native American students from tribes with historical ties to the state to enroll in public colleges and universities.
Governor Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 29 to help out-of-state students from federally recognized tribes pursue a more affordable college education in Colorado. The Colorado Sundisclosed that around 200 Native American students already enrolled at state colleges will be the initial beneficiaries of the new law and would have $15,000 slashed from their annual tuition.
The bill also gives eligible out-of-state Native American students access to the Colorado Opportunity Fund a stipend that shoulders a portion of tuition costs in addition to other financial aid. The policy will be implemented this semester.
Scholarships For Native American Descendants
A 2013 report by the American College Testing organization indicated that 86 percent of Native American high graduates who took the ACT want to go to college. Still, Native Americans represent the smallest underrepresented group of students attending college in the U.S. In an effort to provide greater access and opportunity for Native Americans to pursue higher education, a host of public and private funding programs are in place. Although requirements vary, securing documentation verifying youre Native American and tribally affiliated is an important first step.
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Social Justice For Indigenous Communities
House Speaker Alex Garnett, who was also a bill sponsor, toldThe Denver Post that the bill is long overdue and the support shown by other institutions indicates that it will have a positive influence on Colorado.
Garnett also said that it would help schools rebuild relationships with the tribes, and help higher education institutions diversify their student bodies.
Other colleges and universities have offered discounted tuition for indigenous students. For example, Fort Lewis College offers free tuition for members of a US federally recognized Native American tribe or Alaska Native. Colorado State University and the University of Colorado Boulder also offer Native American students in-state tuition.
Fort Lewis College Offers Full Tuition Waivers For Native American Students
Submitted by Tesia Zientek
Fort Lewis College, a public liberal arts school located on a mesa overlooking historic Durango, Colorado, provides full tuition waivers for enrolled Native Americans. For students looking for an affordable multicultural college experience and small class sizes, Fort Lewis presents an option.
Originally a military fort-turned-Native American boarding school, Fort Lewis College now offers tuition-free education for qualified Native Americans as a result of a 1911 mandate. For out-of-state students, this saves close to $17,000 per year.
To receive the waiver, any student who is a member of a federally recognized tribe must complete a Certification of Tribal Membership form and provide a Certificate of Indian Blood or a copy of their tribal membership card. Any nontuition-related expenses, including fees, books and room and board, remain the responsibility of the student. However, scholarships such as the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Tribal Scholarship can help offset these costs.
Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal member Hailey Eilers transferred from St. Gregorys University in Shawnee, Oklahoma, to Fort Lewis College this semester to study education.
Interested students can apply and learn more at fortlewis.edu. To discuss college options and opportunities for Native American scholarships, Citizen Potawatomi students can contact the CPN Department of Education at or 405-275-3121.
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Fort Lewis Takes Further Steps Towards Reconciliation
Tags: ceremonial removal, clocktower, Ernest House Jr., Federal Indian Policy of Assimilation, Fort Lewis College, Fort Lewis College Board of Trustees member, Fort Lewis College Indian Boarding School panels, Fort Lewis Indian School, Fort Lewis U.S. Army post, Indian cultural identities, intergenerational traumas, Jicarilla Apache, Mescalero Apache tribes, Native American-Serving Non-Tribal Institution , Navajo, ndian Boarding School era, Papagos, Pimas, San Carlos Apache, U.S. Department of Education, Ute Tribes, White Mountain Apache
Hundreds of community members, students and college alumni gathered at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo. on Monday, Sept. 6 to witness the ceremonial removal of the Fort Lewis College Indian Boarding School panels that were installed onto the beams of the clocktower that sits centrally on campus. The panels were removed because they depicted inaccurate and disrespectful historical experiences of the Indian Boarding School era.
The panel removal was a great event, and it will continue to spark the ongoing conversation that has been happening nationally about boarding schools, Fort Lewis College Board of Trustees member, Ernest House Jr. stated. Hopefully there will be a more accurate portrayal and depiction of what happened, that the goal back then was assimilation of Native Americans into the Western society and how that directly relates to intergenerational traumas.
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After Years Of Calls To Correct Whitewashed History Fort Lewis College Owning Up To Its Past As An Indian Boarding School
DURANGO, Colo. The origin of Fort Lewis College in Durango is a dark stain on American education and the state of Colorado. The schools own leaders have said as much.
Once a post-Civil War Army post, the land was converted into a federal, off-reservation Native American Boarding School, which forced tribal students to abandon their cultural identities and adopt Western culture. The campus was situated on ancestral land stolen from several Native American tribes.
The process was often violent. And while there is no current evidence that Fort Lewis had a direct role in student deaths, mass unmarked graves of Indigenous children have been found at former boarding schools across the continent.
Forced assimilation continued at the school for 20 years, until the land was transferred to the state in 1911 to become a university. The deal was made on the grounds that Native American students would get free tuition.
Panels in the middle of Fort Lewis Colleges campus, right underneath its iconic clock tower, are supposed to depict this history, but the version on display is incomplete. While they include its time as an Indian boarding school, it portrays the time as peaceful and unproblematic. Photos show indigenous students participating in sports and the marching band.
> This story is powered by COLab, the Colorado News Collaborative. 9NEWS joined this historic collaboration with more than 40 other newsrooms across Colorado to better serve the public.
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Ft Lewis Tuition Waiver
We have been receiving calls and questions about the Ft. Lewis College tuition waiver and its history in the wake of a proposed bill that would strip $1.8 million from Fort Lewis Colleges budget. House Bill 10-1067, sponsored by Karen Middleton, D-Aurora, would reduce the per-student amount the state reimburses the school for out-of-state Indian students. Middleton said the bills passage would have no impact on the promise to educate American Indians free of charge.
The Ft. Lewis tuition waiver is not a result of a treaty, as many have quoted, but rather is the result of the following unique history.
In 1910 the U.S. government deeded to the state of Colorado the property then known as the Fort Lewis School with the stipulation as condition of the grant that Indian students would be admitted free of charge and on equity with white students. The educational opportunities for Indian students have been maintained by the college and the state of Colorado since then based on federal and state agreements and court decisions.
In 2008 one in five students was American Indian at Ft. Lewis College.
The Michigan legislature has enacted legislation that provides free tuition for American Indian students who are residents of Michigan to selected higher education institutions.
Proof of tribal enrollment is required for these programs.