Colorado extends tuition fees to Native American tribesmen

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

SB21-209, which Governor Jared Polis promulgated on Monday, recognizes that Native American tribes were forced out of Colorado and requires higher education institutions to give tuition fees in the state to students who are members of the 48 known native tribes who are were in Colorado. Colorado only has two tribes recognized by the federal government still 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 decided to make the switch last year as well, lawmakers did what they couldn’t in the past: implement the tuition fee hiatus at all colleges and universities. Colorado audiences.

“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 movement to support indigenous communities, Polis also signed SB21-116 in law 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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