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Federal Funding for Scholarships for Tribes Are Threatened

Federal Funding for Scholarships for Tribes Are Threatened
February 18
09:50 2020

By John Christian Hopkins

Will the third time be the charm?

For the third time, the Trump Administration has proposed eliminating the Higher Education Grant Program.

The program, administered by the Department of the Interior, provides federal funding for scholarships to tribes, including the Navajo Nation.

The Trump Administration zeroed out funding for tribal scholarships in the FY 2021 federal budget released last week.

“I absolutely disagree with the budget proposal put forth,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said. “But the Navajo Nation has tremendous support from House and Senate members who will stand with us to support Navajo students and funding for college.”

Rose Graham, director of the Office of Navajo Nation Scholarship and Financial Assistance (ONNSFA), is also hopeful that Congress once again rejects the Trump administration’s attempt to eliminate the Higher Education Grant Program as it did in 2019 and 2020.

“The Trump administration has made it abundantly clear that it is not interested in providing support to Native Americans seeking a college education,” Graham said. “It appears the Trump administration is doing its best to keep a college degree out of reach of Native Americans.”   The Higher Education Grant Program helps undergraduate students, who are determined to have a financial need. A majority of the students served by ONNSFA fall into that category. Need-based students receive $2,500 per term, which helps students cover the balance of tuition and fees, room and board, textbooks, and transportation costs.

Federal funds, provided through the Higher Education Grant to the Navajo Nation, made up more than 53 percent or $13.4 million of the $25.3 million awarded to students in 2019. Other sources of funding included Navajo Nation funds of $10 million, Trust funds of $1.3 million, and Corporate funds of $545,606.

“Navajo students already face tremendous challenges when they seek a college.”

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Summary: Federal Funding for Scholarships For Tribes Are Threatened

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