Published April 18, 2016
BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA – United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) plans to make it easier for Native students to start college. Beginning with the coming Fall Semester, UTTC will waive the tuition of Native students who are enrolled members of federally-recognized tribes.
The waiver will be offered to all qualified Native American college students attending the tribal college in Bismarck. The offering is a one-year pilot program and was recently approved by the college’s governing board, whose members represent the five tribal nations in North Dakota.
Alternative to Student Loans
“We serve a population that has the lowest annual income averages in the entire United States,” says Leander “Russ” McDonald, UTTC President. “These are students from some of the most impoverished areas in the country. And we believe it’s our obligation to offer realistic financial assistance to help them get started on a path that will change their lives.”
UTTC ends its participation in the federal student loan program as of the conclusion of the current academic year in May.
McDonald says student loans do not work for families that are without savings accounts or access to credit, or have a low level of financial literacy. It’s unconscionable to expose them from the start to a system they have little experience with that has the potential for saddling them with sizable debt, he says.
“As a tribal college, it’s our mission, first and foremost, to serve the education needs of tribes and tribal people,” says McDonald. “To make higher education attainable, we’ve determined that it’s necessary to do the financial piece in ways that do not exclusively rely on student loans.”
UTTC’s Native Student Tuition Waiver begins with Fall Semester 2016. Those eligible for the one-year trial program are new and current UTTC students. The deadline to submit a completed application is June 30, 2016.
Potential students are urged to start the enrollment process as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline.
“I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get started early,” says Kathy Johnson, UTTC Student Services Vice President. “Filling-out applications may seem overwhelming but help is available, and it’s well worth the effort to have the tuition waiver to get a start in college.”
New and stop-out students are required to file a completed admissions application and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To be eligible, stop-outs must show satisfactory academic progress and file any appeal paperwork before the deadline. Returning students must meet the same requirements and also be pre-registered for classes.
“Some forms can take several days to complete,” cautions Johnson, “especially the FAFSA. The sooner they start the more likely it is that eligible students will receive the tuition waiver.”
The UTTC Native Tuition Waiver will be based on unmet student financial need. It will apply only to tuition and not to other college costs such as housing, books, fees and meals.
The college has placed a helpful checklist of application requirements and a step-by-step application form under the ‘APPLY NOW’ section of the UTTC website, www.uttc.edu.
If a student seeking the waiver fails to make the June 30 deadline, the application would be considered as part of the college’s regular admissions process and subject to UTTC tuition. The college’s Admissions and Financial Aid department will determine who has successfully met the application requirements by the deadline.
UTTC will offer the Native American Tuition Waiver through Spring Semester 2017 and Summer Semester 2017. It will be reviewed by the college in early 2017 to assess its effectiveness in making college accessible for Native students.
Other types of student financial aid are also available to qualifying non-Native students who attend UTTC. Non-Native students number between 10 and 15 percent of the student body.
For admissions information contact Donovan Lambert 701-255-3285 x 1741, [email protected].
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