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Tipton Reintroduces Bill to Strengthen Native American Indian Education
Congressman Scott Tipton (CO-03) reintroduced the Native American Indian Education Act (H.R. 1528) in the 115th Congress on Wednesday. Tipton was joined by former U.S. Senator from Colorado Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Fort Lewis College President Dene Kay Thomas, and Fort Lewis College Director of Office Sponsored Research and Federal Relations Angela Rochat at the U.S. Capitol to mark the occasion.
President Dene Kay Thomas praised Tipton’s work on H.R. 1528.
Thomas said, “I very much appreciate Congressman Tipton’s understanding of and support of the Native American tuition waiver bill.”
H.R. 1528 would help Fort Lewis College and the State of Colorado cover tuition costs of qualifying Native American Indian students who receive federally-mandated free tuition at the college under a 1910 federal land grant. Fort Lewis College has seen a significant increase in the number of out-of-state Native American Indian enrollees in recent years, and the State of Colorado has been left to cover the tuition costs in full for these out-of-state students. H.R. 1528 authorizes the federal government to allocate the funding necessary to sustain the Native American Tuition Waiver Program at Fort Lewis College.
Tipton said, “It is vital that the federal government fully live up to our nation’s treaty obligations with Native American Indians. For years, the weight of an unfunded federal mandate to provide higher education opportunities for Native American Indian students has created uncertainty for the Native American Tuition Waiver Program at Fort Lewis College. This has put a constantly-increasing strain on the State of Colorado’s budget. Our legislation addresses this issue by authorizing the federal government to allocate funds to meet its treaty obligations and ensure that many talented and bright Native American Indian students have the opportunity to get a quality education.”
Twenty-five percent of Fort Lewis College’s student population is made up of Native Americans Indians representing 167 American Indian tribes and Native Alaskan villages.