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Navajo Nation: Fast Action on Financial Aid Shortfall

Navajo Nation: Fast Action on Financial Aid Shortfall
January 12
08:39 2021

Fast Action on Financial Aid Shortfall

 

By John Christian Hopkins

The Nez-Lizer administration signed off on providing $2.5 million for Navajo students pursuing higher education.

The funds will go into Navajo Nation Scholarship and Financial Aid program. The $2.5 million will be taken from the Unreserved, Undesignated Fund.

The legislation was sponsored by Council Delegate Eugene Tso.

“We met with the Navajo Area BIA office to discuss the funding needs for the Higher Education Program and we are optimistic that the issue will be resolved,” said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez.

In mid-December the Navajo Area Bureau of Indian Affairs informed the Navajo Nation that there was no available funding for the Higher Education Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior through a P.L. 93-638 contract.

BIA Regional Director Bartholomew Stevens told the Navajo Nation that the Department of the Interior, the agency oversees the BIA, was not providing funding for the higher education program.

The funds were appropriated by Congress and signed into law on Dec. 27, 2020 and now his office awaits the funding to be released.

When that happens the UUF will be reimbursed the $2.5 million dollars.

According to the Office of Navajo Nation Scholarship and Financial Aid, a total of 13,269 students submitted applications in 2019. Using available resources, the office was able to provide awards to half of all applicants.

“I commend the Office of Navajo Nation Scholarship and Financial Aid and the 24th Navajo Nation Council for moving forward with the funding request to prevent a disruption in scholarship funding,” Nez said.

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