Tribal Colleges in NM Seek Scholarship Eligibility

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by Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE N.M. — Tribal colleges in New Mexico want their students to have the same eligibility for the state’s lottery scholarships as students attending state colleges and universities.

Tribal colleges also want the same so-called “dual credit” reimbursements that other public higher education institutions get from the state for courses that count for both high school and college credit.

Presidents of three of the schools are seeking legislative action to approve both changes, the Albuquerque Journal ( http://bit.ly/UOhegX) reported.

Bob Martin, president of the Institute of American Indian Arts, said many students who want to stay home and attend tribal colleges end up going to state institutions instead for lottery scholarship eligibility.

A lottery scholarship pays for 100 percent of tuition for eight semesters for students who keep a minimum 2.5 grade point average.

A bill to make the tribal colleges’ students eligible for lottery scholarships has been introduced by Democratic Rep. Eliseo Lee Alcon of Milan.

Funding the dual-credit courses would require $300,000 to $500,000, the presidents said.

A bill that passed unanimously and was signed into law last year created a fund for the tribal college dual credit, but it has not been funded.

“We just want to be treated like the other public institutions in the state of New Mexico,” said Anthony Major Jr., chief financial officer of Navajo Technical College in Crownpoint.

Martin said his college in Santa Fe has been offering dual-credit courses since 2009, which has cost the school about $200,000 that is not reimbursed.

“The fact that we don’t get reimbursed means it’s a real challenge for us. Some schools don’t have the budget,” he said.

Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque does not offer duel credit enrollment, the Gallup Independent (http://bit.ly/z0cIwR) reported.

With the state’s financial assistance, “we can’t afford to do it,” said Sherry R. Allison, president of SIPI.

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