DENVER – Indigenous students attending Metro State University of Denver won’t have to worry about paying for college starting this fall.
MSU president Janine Davidson delivered the news during the school’s Native American and Indigenous graduation ceremony over the weekend, where she also announced any out-of-pocket tuition costs and fees would also be covered for eligible Indigenous MSU students graduating this spring.
“Just as the other Aurarian institutions honor displaced Aurarians that were removed from their homes so that our campus could be built, we want to honor the Native peoples who first called this land their home,” Davidson told attendees during the ceremony’s opening remarks on Saturday.
Eligible students must be Colorado residents and belong to any of the 574 federally recognized Indigenous nations and must register for at least one credit toward a badge, certificate or first bachelor’s degree up to 125 credits, school officials said in a news release Monday.
The decision – made possible thanks to a combination of federal, state and institutional grants – builds on state legislation passed last year which requires state higher-education institutions to offer an in-state tuition classification to Native students who are members of the 48 Indigenous nations with historical ties to Colorado.
MSU is the second Colorado university to waive tuition fees for Indigenous Colorado residents, the first being Fort Lewis College in Durango.
“This is long overdue — it’s time for the State of Colorado and MSU Denver to honor the obligations to Indigenous people whose land we are living on,” said David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Ph.D., a professor of Political Science at MSU Denver. “My hope is to continue building on the work we’re doing to attract many more students to have that critical mass, along with more professors and expanded clubs and scholarships.”
Per the Postsecondary National Policy Institute, 23% of first-time, full-time Native American students attending four-year institutions beginning in 2008 graduated within four years, compared to nearly 44% for white students.
To learn more about eligibility to receive a tuition waiver through the Indigenous and Native People’s grant at MSU, click here.