UC system to cover tuition for California residents who are Native Americans

This fall, the University of California system will begin paying tuition for California residents who are Native American, in a move that could affect more than 600 current students. UC President Michael Drake described the decision in a letter to UC chancellors, saying it would “advance critical efforts to expand student diversity and make the University of California more affordable. ” | RELATED | Read the letter announcing the new policy As part of UC’s new Native American Opportunity Plan, the system will cover in-state tuition and student services for undergraduates and college students. graduates who are members of federally recognized Native American, American Indian, and Alaska Native tribes. The number of students affected could change from year to year, but that number is now around 500 undergraduates and 160 graduate students, UC spokesman Stett Holbrook said. The plan will be funded through existing state and university financial aid programs and other resources, according to the letter. In-state tuition costs about $13,000 plus an additional $1,400 in campus fees. The letter said scholarships may also be available for California residents of non-federally recognized tribes through other organizations. “UC will share information about these efforts at a later date,” Holbrook said. California is home to more American Indians and Alaska Natives than any other state. The group makes up 1.6% of the state’s population, according to 2019 census estimates. But UC AIAN students make up 0.52% of the student body, according to a 2020 document from the president’s office in academic and student affairs committee of the university. The paper noted large gaps in the number of AIAN students applying, gaining admission, and ultimately enrolling in UC schools. He also said AIAN’s undergraduate enrollment had been consistent over five years, while graduate enrollment trends were “mixed.” At the high school level, Native American or Alaska Native students have among the lowest graduation rates, 73% in 2020-2021. That compares to 83% for the state total. “The University of California is committed to acknowledging and acknowledging historic wrongs suffered by Native Americans,” Drake said in the letter outlining the new policy. “I am proud of the University’s efforts to support the Native American community, including the creation of UC’s Native American Opportunity Plan, and appreciate our conversations to date about all the ways we can better support Native American students. The UC system said it will cater to new and continuing students who may qualify for this program. They will be required to submit tribal registration documents from their federally recognized tribe or the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Accepted documents include: A certificate of tribal registration on tribal letterhead A registration/membership card that contains the tribal seal and/or official signature of a tribal leader A certificate of Indian blood degree ( CDIB) if the CDIB includes tribal registration information a tribal ID card with a registration number Clyde Hodge, retired former president of the California Indian Education Association, applauded the UC president’s decision. “Well, Hallelujah,” he said. “We thought it was a good idea for California natives for a long, long time. Opening it up to all federally recognized tribes is a long-needed thing. It’s almost ‘poetic’ that their descendants can benefit from free education.

The University of California system will begin paying tuition for California residents who are Native American this fall, in a move that could affect more than 600 current students.

UC President Michael Drake described the decision in a letter to UC Chancellors, saying it would “advance critical efforts to expand student diversity and make the University of California more affordable.”

| RELATED | Read the letter announcing the new policy

Under the new UC Native American Opportunity Plan, the system will cover in-state tuition and student services for undergraduates and graduate students who are members of Native American, American Indian, and Native American tribes. Alaska federally recognized.

The number of students affected could change from year to year, but that number is now around 500 undergraduates and 160 graduate students, UC spokesman Stett Holbrook said.

The plan will be funded through existing state and university financial aid programs and other resources, according to the letter.

In-state tuition costs about $13,000 plus an additional $1,400 in campus fees.

The letter said scholarships may also be available for California residents of non-federally recognized tribes through other organizations.

“UC will share information about these efforts at a later date,” Holbrook said.

California is home to more American Indians and Alaska Natives than any other state.

The group makes up 1.6% of the state’s population, according to 2019 census estimates. But UC AIAN students make up 0.52% of the student body, according to a 2020 document from the president’s office in academic and student affairs committee of the university. The paper noted large gaps in the number of AIAN students applying, gaining admission, and ultimately enrolling in UC schools. He also said AIAN’s undergraduate enrollment had been consistent over five years, while graduate enrollment trends were “mixed.”

At the high school level, Native American or Alaska Native students have among the lowest graduation rates, 73% in 2020-2021. That compares to 83% for the state total.

“The University of California is committed to acknowledging and acknowledging historic wrongs suffered by Native Americans,” Drake said in the letter outlining the new policy. “I am proud of the University’s efforts to support the Native American community, including the creation of UC’s Native American Opportunity Plan, and appreciate our conversations to date about all the ways we can better support Native American students.

The UC system said it will cater to new and continuing students who may qualify for this program. They will be required to submit tribal registration documents from their federally recognized tribe or the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Accepted documentation includes:

  • Tribal registration certificate on tribal letterhead
  • Registration/membership card containing the tribal seal and/or official signature of a tribal leader
  • Certificate of Indian Blood Degree (CDIB) if the CDIB includes tribal registration information
  • Tribal ID card with a registration number

Clyde Hodge, a retired former president of the California Indian Education Association, applauded the UC president’s decision.

“Well, Hallelujah,” he said. “We thought it was a good idea for California natives for a long, long time. Opening it up to all federally recognized tribes is a long overdue thing.

Hodge, who is from the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, said given the country’s history of Native Americans being forcibly sent to boarding schools, it was almost ‘poetic’ that their descendants could get a free education .

Nohemi M. Moore