Char-Koosta News: Salish Kootenai College Awarded New Grants

PABLO — Salish Kootenai College will receive $2.3 million from the U.S. Department of Education as part of more than $50.4 million in new grants to support American Indian Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities in a dozen states. Tribal colleges in Montana received $10.2 million.

Under the Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities Program, the formula-based grants will help eligible higher education institutions increase their self-sufficiency by providing funds to strengthen their academic quality, management and overall fiscal stability.

“Tribal institutions serve a valuable role for American Indian students,” said William Mendoza, executive director, White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education.  “As accredited institutions, tribal colleges are unique.  In addition to functioning in a similar fashion to community colleges or small, public four-year schools, they support the preservation and revitalization of Native languages and serve other cultural needs of their students. They deliver instruction in culturally appropriate ways, thereby promoting tribal culture and academic achievement.”

“Montana’s tribal colleges provide valuable educational and job training services to Native American students across our state,” said Senator Steve Daines, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, in a press release. “These grants will help our tribal colleges continue serving Montana’s tribal members and preparing students for success in their future careers.”

To qualify for funding, institutions must meet the federal definition of the term “tribally controlled college or university.” That is, they must be formally controlled, or have been formally sanctioned or chartered by the governing body of an Indian tribe or tribes. No more than one institution shall be recognized with respect to any individual tribe.

The Obama Administration is committed to expanding educational opportunities and improving educational outcomes for American Indian and Alaskan Native children. As demonstrated by President Obama’s Executive Order on Improving American Indian and Alaska Native Educational Opportunities and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities, the Administration continues to work to improve the programs available at tribal colleges so that Native students are well prepared to compete for the high-skilled, quality jobs of today and tomorrow. Last year, the President announced the launch of Generation Indigenous (Gen I), a Native youth initiative focused on removing the barriers that stand between Native youth and their opportunities to succeed.