UArizona will offer tuition-free education to Native American undergraduate students in Arizona

By Kyle Mittan, University Communications


Graduates listen to speakers at the Native American Student Affairs graduation ceremony on May 6.
Chris Richards/University of Arizona

Undergraduate students from the 22 federally recognized Native American tribes will no longer have to pay tuition and mandatory fees at the main campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Beginning in the fall, new full-time, degree-seeking undergraduates in the state will be eligible for the Arizona Native Scholars Grant, the first program of its kind in Arizona. The program will be administered by UArizona Enrollment Management.

“Serving the Native American tribes and tribal students of Arizona is a crucial part of the University of Arizona’s land-grant mission, and the Arizona Native Scholars Fellowship program is another milestone. among many others to achieve this,” said the president of the University of Arizona. Robert C. Robbins. “I am so proud that this university has found a way to help hundreds of students more easily access and complete a college education, and I look forward to finding ways to go even further in these efforts.”

To be eligible, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, and provide tribal identification. The federal legal status of Native American tribes allows universities to administer scholarships and grants to tribal members.

More than 400 students enrolled at UArizona last year meet the criteria for the new program.

Serving Arizona’s Native American tribes and students is a key part of the university’s strategic plan and is central to the plan’s Arizona Advantage pillar, which highlights the university’s role as a grant institution. of land. Tucson is home to the Tohono O’odham Nation and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe.

“The University of Arizona is committed to recognizing and acknowledging the history endured by Native American communities,” said Kasey Urquidez, vice president of enrollment management at UArizona and dean of undergraduate admissions. “We are committed to promoting access and success for Aboriginal students. This program is part of our ongoing commitment to serve our Native Wildcats.

students on tour

Students from Diné College, a public tribal land-grant college in Tsaile, Arizona, visited the UArizona campus in May. The tour included stops at the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab, the new Student Success District, and Biosphere 2.
Chris Richards/University of Arizona

The new grant is part of a host of university programs and partnerships with Native American communities and students, particularly those in Arizona. In the fall, a survey by the National Science Foundation showed that UArizona is the best institution granting doctorates to Native American or Alaska Native students.

The university’s Indigenous Resilience Center, established in September at the Arizona Institute for Resilient Environments and Societies, works directly with tribal nations to address environmental challenges in ways that respect indigenous and indigenous sovereignty and knowledge.

Several College of Education programs, including the Native Teacher Education Program and Native SOAR, provide training and support for K-12 teachers in Arizona, especially those who serve Native communities.

In the 2020-21 academic year, James E. Rogers College of Law was among the top three U.S. law schools with the most Native American students pursuing a Juris Doctor, according to the latest data from the American Bar Association. The college is home to the Indigenous Peoples Law and Politics Program, renowned for its scholarship in the law, politics, and human rights of Native American and Indigenous peoples.

“These initiatives are not check marks; they represent the commitment of the University of Arizona and its continued desire to be the premier institution serving Native Americans,” said Levi Esquerra, UArizona senior vice president for Native American Tribal Advancement and Engagement. “It’s a very exciting time, and we’re going to continue our work with the tribes to do great things.”

In the future, Urquídez said, the program may expand to graduate students, online students at the University of Arizona, and students at other UArizona campuses. The university will also look to support from potential donors to help fund the program.

More details about the Arizona Native Scholars Grant, including how to apply, will be available on the Scholarships and Financial Aid website, along with information about other programs that serve Native students.

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