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Contact: Dina Horwedel, Director of Public Education, American Indian College Fund, 303-426-8900, dhorwedel@collegefund.org

Mar 15, 2022 | Press Releases

National Tribal Colleges and Universities Week March 13-19

Tribal College and University Presidents, Students Address Legislative Priorities in Washington, D.C.

Alexandria, Va., March 11, 2022 – The American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) is hosting its annual legislative summit March 14-18 in Washington, D.C., where Tribal College and University (TCU) presidents will convene both in person and virtually to address urgent legislative priorities for Native higher education. Underscoring the importance of TCU education, Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) introduced S. Res. 545 -to designate the week beginning March 13, 2022, as “National Tribal Colleges and Universities Week.” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer presented the resolution March 13 in Congress. It passed unanimously.

The pandemic has made the digital divide in Indian Country even more apparent—and closing the gap even more important. The American Indian College Fund will join tribal college leaders and students as they meet with legislative leaders to discuss top priorities for the mostly rural tribal higher education institutions. These include participating in the federal Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program and establishing a TCU IT Service Fund within the USDA’s Rural Utility Service.

Other important priorities to ensure strong higher education opportunities for Native students include federal investment in construction, facilities, operations, and maintenance, and addressing funding inequities for tribal higher education, including increased BIE operating funding and development of a reliable funding formula based on need. TCU leaders are also seeking support for amendments to the Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities Assistance Act and two new TCU programs under the Higher Education Act, Native Languages and Graduate Opportunities.

The AIHEC 2022 Legislative Summit is an opportunity for TCU leaders to inform and educate lawmakers about the issues needed to address equitable access to higher education in Indian Country and connect with their respective federal legislators and other U.S. departments and agencies to build relationships.

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