Colorado extends tuition fees to Native American tribesmen

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Indigenous out-of-state students whose tribes have historic ties to Colorado will receive in-state tuition starting in the fall.

SB21-209, which Gov. Jared Polis promulgated on Monday, recognizes Native American tribes were forced out of Colorado and demands higher education institutions provide in-state tuition fees for students who are members of the 48 known native tribes that were in Colorado. Colorado still has only two federally recognized tribes in the state, the Southern Ute Tribe and the Ute Mountain Tribe.

Democratic leaders from both houses of the legislature sponsored the bill and it received bipartisan support.

Fort Lewis College offers free classes to members of a Native American tribe recognized by the Federal Government of the United States or an Native Alaskan village, and Colorado State University offers Native American students classes in the state. . After the University of Colorado Boulder also decided to make the change last year, lawmakers did what they couldn’t do in the past: implement the tuition hiatus across all schools. Colorado public colleges and universities.

“It’s long overdue, and the fact that all the other higher education institutions have signed up, I think it’s a testament to the fact that it’s good for Colorado; it’s good for higher education, ”said Speaker of the House Alec Garnett, a Democrat from Denver and sponsor of the bill.

He added that it would help schools rebuild relationships with tribes that have collapsed over the years, and help colleges and universities diversify their student populations.

In another move to support indigenous communities, Polis also promulgated SB21-116 on Monday. Beginning in June 2022, any public school that has a Native American mascot without formal tribal approval will be subject to a monthly fine of $ 25,000.

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