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Dine College Hoping Fourth Time the Charm

Dine College Hoping Fourth Time the Charm
April 19
10:46 2016

The interim president of Dine College made a plea to Congress last week for more maintenance funding.

The request would “modernize prior legislation,” Martin Miguel Ahumada told the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on April 13.

Three times since 1971 Congress passed legislation approving repair and maintenance funds for Dine College, but no money was ever set aside.

This time it will be different – Ahumada hopes.

He is requesting $2 million a year over the next four years – the same amount that had been approved in 1971, 1978 and 2008.

“We’ve never known why the funding didn’t come through but, to us, what’s important is that we have an opportunity today to begin again pursuing that, and the need has only grown,” Ahumada said.

The bill is sponsored by Arizona’s Republican senators Jeff Flake and John McCain and New Mexico’s Democratic senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall.

“Diné College has been very successful in offering high-quality education in many areas and I think this helps form future Navajo teachers and leaders and others that are going to play an important role there on the Navajo Nation,” Udall said.

Flake also praised the “critical” role Dine College plays on the reservation.

“The timing is ideal to pursue vitally needed funding for construction at a time when our need is at its greatest,” Ahumada said.

The $2 million requested would go toward classrooms and laboratories, Ahumada said.
Dine College is based in Tsaile, Ariz., but has six sites across three states, with more than 1,700 students enrolled during the last academic year, Ahumada testified.

The college has not been able to keep up with maintenance and needed repairs, Ahumada said. He estimated that 25% of the buildings need repairs.

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