U of M offering free or reduced tuition to Native American students

The University of Minnesota is offering free or greatly reduced tuition for Native American students on any of its five campuses. 

Starting in Fall 2022, the U of M will provide a scholarship covering full tuition at the Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester or Twin Cities campus for first-year or Tribal college transfer undergraduate students with an annual family income under $75,000. Students from higher-earning families will be eligible to receive highly discounted tuition through the program, according to a news release. 

Students must be enrolled citizens in one of the state’s 11 federally recognized Tribal Nations and come to the university straight from high school or transfer from a Minnesota-based Tribal college to qualify. 

The University of Minnesota Native American Promise Tuition Program expands upon the existing full tuition waiver program on the U of M-Morris campus.

"That campus was acquired, and it was a former boarding school, so it came with the promise of a tuition waiver for Native American students as part of the gift and acquisition of the University of Minnesota," says Karen Diver, the University of Minnesota senior advisor to the President for Native American affairs, says.

As part of the program, the university will also reinforce existing student support programs on its campuses, including the Circle of Indigenous Nations student services office and the American Indian Cultural House on the Twin Cities campus. 

The new initiative is one of the nation’s most comprehensive free and reduced tuition programs for Native American students, the U says.

Right now, the Native American student population on the U's campuses is low.

"I don't have the numbers for all of the campuses, but I do know that they are slightly less than the representation and the population, so hopefully this will help increase those numbers," said Diver.

She says the waiver program will break down barriers. "The University of Minnesota's strategic plan really looks at how do we increase the diversity of all of our campuses both with our learners, our faculty, our support staff so that we're serving the public of Minnesota," says Diver.

Applicants can apply now. the program will start next fall. In-coming freshmen or transfers from tribal colleges will qualify.