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2017-05-18 / Headlines

UTTC Announces Second Year for Native Tuition Waiver

BY JIM KENT
LCT CORRESPONDENT

BISMARCK, N.D. – If you’re Native American, seeking a college education and have always wanted to visit North Dakota then United Tribes Technical College just might be the place for you.

The 43-year old regionally accredited institution has announced the renewal of its Native American Tuition Waiver Program for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Launched last year on a trial basis the program is aimed at enrolled members of federally-recognized tribes.

DeLana Wendland is Vice President of Student Services for UTTC. She explained the reasoning behind the tuition waiver program.

“In 2016 the college decided it would be best to discontinue the federal student loan program as our students were going into debt,” Wendland recalled.

Though most colleges and universities carry some sort of federal student loan program, Wendland noted that UTTC saw the writing on the wall.

“And we said, ‘That’s not the best thing for us,” she recalled, “And we decided that we need to supplement it with something our students could benefit from.”

That “something” was the Native American Tuition Waiver Program.

As long as a student is a member of a federally recognized tribe, has a completed enrollment application on file (to include the program’s application), is a full-time student seeking a degree, maintains satisfactory academic progress and applies by the appropriate deadline they’re eligible for the tuition waiver program.

“You’re still charged for tuition,” Wendland commented. “But then we just offset that. So you see on your bill that you’ve been charged, but then you see that you’ve also been credited.”

Weidland noted that as a result of the Native American Tuition Waiver Program last year UTTC experienced an increase in enrollment which increased other revenue streams to help supplement the overall cost of the program.

Those related effected revenue streams include fees for housing and meals.

During the 2016/17 academic year 210 students from 34 tribes took part in the Tuition Waiver Program. Numbers for 2017/18 are up 189 percent over this time one year ago.

With a total population of 483 those numbers translate to more than 40 percent of UTTC students taking advantage of the Native American Tuition Waiver Program.

Besides an overall college enrollment jump of 22 percent between last Fall and this, Wendland pointed to increases in GPA scores, class completion and student retention as indicators of the program’s benefits.

“In fact,” Wendland added, “students who applied for and received the waiver turn out to be more successful in these areas than their counterparts.”

Considering that UTTC has always aimed at providing a quality education and to have its students graduate from the institution with little or no debt, the Native American Tuition Waiver Program is a natural support network for these long-standing goals of the college.

“What this program does,” observed Wendland, “is it allows our students to focus on their studies, have less stressers and be able to focus on their academics.”

New and current UTTC students are eligible for the Native American Tuition Waiver Program. Application deadline for the 2017 Fall Semester is June 29. Students are urged to move forward on the enrollment application process as soon as possible.

New students and returning students are required to complete an admissions application and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Returning students must meet the same requirements and also be pre-registered for classes.

Other forms of financial aid are available for qualifying non-Native students who attend UTTC. Non-Natives comprise some 13 percent of the student body.

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