The University of California school system will now cover the cost of all tuition and fees for Native American students who are members of federally recognized tribes.
This action is part of the new UC Native American Opportunity Plan and would apply to undergraduates and graduate students, including American Indian and Alaska Native tribes.
UC President Michael Drake discussed the decision with UC chancellors saying the move would “advance critical efforts to expand student diversity and make the University of California more affordable.”
As it stands, in-state tuition fees run about $13,000 per semester plus an additional $1,400 for campus fees.
Reports from the California Judicial Branch state that California has about 110 federally-recognized tribes, including several with lands that cross state boundaries.
California residents from non-federally recognized tribes may benefit from this program as well. UC spokesperson Stett Holbrook said, “UC will be sharing information on those efforts at a later date.”
Studies show California is home to more American Indians and Alaska Natives than any other state.
From 1869 to the 1960s, thousands of Native American children were forced from their homes and families and placed in boarding schools operated by the federal government. These schools stripped them of their traditions and replaced their beliefs and culture with mainstream American teachings.
In the letter discussing the new policy, Drake said, “The University of California is committed to recognizing and acknowledging historical wrongs endured by Native Americans.” He continued, “I am proud of the efforts the University has made to support the Native American community, including the creation of the UC Native American Opportunity Plan, and appreciate our conversations to date on all the ways in which we can better support Native American students.”