Home>Articles>University of California Announces Free Tuition For All Californian Native American Students Beginning This Fall

University of California Announces Free Tuition For All Californian Native American Students Beginning This Fall

The decision will affect hundreds of students

By Evan Symon, April 27, 2022 2:25 am

The University of California released a letter by UC President Michael V. Drake on Tuesday, announcing that all Californian Native American residents will not have to pay tuition starting in the fall semester.

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In the letter dated Friday, Drake outlined the UC Native American Opportunity Plan. Under it, all California residents who are members of federally recognized Native American, American Indian and Alaska Native tribes will not have to pay either in-state tuition or student service fees once accepted at any UC system college. While funding sources have not been finalized, the letter said that most funding would be coming from existing state and university financial aid programs, as well as other unnamed resources. Students of non-federally recognized tribes will also see scholarships available through other organizations, but with additional information on them to come later this year

The decision will affect hundreds of students. Around 500 Native American undergraduate students and 160 graduate students are currently in the UC system this year, with similar numbers likely for the 2022-2023 academic year. As in-state UC tuition currently costs about $13,000 for the 2022-2023 school year, on top of $1,400 in campus fees, the total yearly cost will be roughly $9.5 million, depending on the number of students each year.

President Drake and the UC system went forward with the plan in part to increase diversity, help right past wrongs against Native Americans in the past, and to bridge the gap of low Native American college enrollment. According to the University of California, Native American students are only .52% of the student body across all campuses statewide, despite having 1.6% of the state’s population. Graduation rates among Native Americans are also 10% lower than the state average. Drake and others hope to fix this through the new UC Native American Opportunity Plan program.

“The University of California is committed to recognizing and acknowledging historical wrongs endured by Native Americans,” said Drake. “I am proud of the efforts the University has made to support the Native American community, including the creation of the UC Native American Opportunity Plan, and appreciate our conversations to date on all the ways in which we can better support Native American students. I am hopeful that this new program will benefit our students and continue to position the University of California as the institution of choice for Native American students.”

Mixed reaction over free tuition program

Many Native Americans and Native American groups praised the decision on Tuesday.

“A lot of Native Americans don’t go to the best schools or are limited by multiple factors,” explained Jack Locklear, a Native American from Northern California who has assisted in awarding Native American scholarships locally to the Globe on Tuesday. “For a long time, Native Americans and other AIAN peoples have been barred from so many things or were limited in what they can do. This program helps correct that. Free education is so important here.”

However, many detractors noted that program ignores other achievements, namely academic and athletic, that usually warrant scholarships, especially to prestigious UC universities.

“There’s a lot of students out there who need help and just get under the wire in terms of academic scholarships,” said Paris Morris, an academic advisor to high school students specializing in top 25 University placement, in a Globe interview. “This program ignores students who pushed themselves to get top grades, who contributed to their community, or did great things athletically for these scholarships. Yes, Native Americans have been a historically oppressed group, but this is the 2020’s. We need to look at individuals and how they fare. Plus, where is the line. Are half-Native Americans included? Those who are a quarter? These are questions that really need to be answered.

“Honestly, they’re ignoring all other Californian students who pushed themselves in the hope of getting scholarships. If this is brought to court, they’re going to have a real hard time defending this. Californians keep pushing back against affirmative action. You can only imagine how most feel about something like a travesty like this.”

More details of the UC Native American Opportunity Plan are expected to be released in the coming months.

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23 thoughts on “University of California Announces Free Tuition For All Californian Native American Students Beginning This Fall

  1. Okay. So, what percentage of Native American blood does the student need, to qualify for this? 10%, 25%, 50%? UC should look at the policy for Native Hawaiians and admission to the Kamehameha School. The definition of “Native Hawaiian” had to be changed when the trustees of the school were sued for racial discrimination. After all, anyone born and raised in Hawaii is technically “native”. In addition, apparently, “pure blooded” Native Hawaiians were becoming very rare because of inter-marriage and it was getting extremely difficult to find students. Think of how high their per pupil expenditures were with all of the Hawaiian real estate owned by the Bishop Estates financing the school? One of the highest in the world, I would say. This is another misguided leftist policy that will be challenged in federal court.

    1. To be eligible for the free tuition, the student has to be enrolled in a federally recognized tribe. Every tribe has their own enrollment blood quantum standards.

    2. It says ENROLLED members of federally recognized tribes. Each tribe has their own set of quantum blood restrictions (the percentage of native blood you carry) that must be met and lineage must be proven before someone is enrolled in that tribe. You are asking a question that they have already considered and made correction for. It is up to the tribe to decide who is enrolled and who is not.

    3. Kamehameha Schools were established by Princess Pauahi Bishop using her wealth for Kanaka Maoli ( Native Hawaiians) not kamaaina ( people living in Hawaii but are not Natives. Recognizing that her people are / where dying out. The school system is junk in Hawaii. The good schools are private schools. Most Natives cannot afford private schools. I am 40% Hawaiian which is even rare today. I have several family members who have attended and my own daughter who is 23% Hawaiian will possibly being boarding there. To enroll you need to trace your genealogy back to pure blood Hawaiian. You also need to have good grades and take a test and be interviewed. There is a lot of vetting. Not only is Kamehameha a Cultural Hawaiian school it is also a Christian School.

    1. Agree, Orwellianism. Just as private golf clubs or other private organizations cannot discriminate against anyone solely based on “blood quantum” or other racial characteristics for membership, this is a violation of the equal protection clause. Since UC is a PUBLIC school it is even more egregious, imo, since public funding is involved.

  2. Everybody be gettin’ dem “high cheekbones” now. Just watch. And, eating Pow-Wow Chow. Everybody be lovin’ Ward Churchill and Dizzy Lizzie Chickasaw Squaw Warren.

    1. John Schilling,
      Your response about, “high cheekbones” … Pow-Wow Chow … Dizzy Lizzie Chickasaw Squaw Warren” is arrogant, ignorant and foolish!

  3. Please stop calling it free. It’s either taxpayer funded or university funded. Nothing is free. Professors get paid no matter who is in the classrooms and the money has to come from somewhere even if it’s “scholarship money” that the university is giving them.

  4. In California, most Indians are members of “Casino Tribes.” These tribes have monopoly casinos that pay ANNUALLY each tribal member a health five figure and sometimes SIX figure income just for being tribal members. These folks don’t need more taxpayer subsidies.

    Moreover, CA ALREADY provides free college tuition to most CA families with less than an $80,000 annual income. Between the various subsidy programs, about 2/3 of all UC and CC students pay zero tuition.

  5. I remember when I was a student at Compton Community College, and an announcement was made that anyone who wanted to apply for a scholarship to the csu system to come to the administration office for an application. I promptly went and asked but was refused, when I asked why, I was told that all of the applications for white students had all been given out and only black and latino student applications were available.

  6. Considering the low percentage of those that would be deemed “federally recognized” for
The “Native American Opportunity Plan” that would attend college It would seem that scholarships would not be a hardship for The gambling Casinos to step up and care for their people.
    I know the arguments, however, it’s still
a hidden tax on those who frequent these establishments, but considering the vast
amount of revenue generated by these
Casinos seems fair to the State’s
taxpayers.
    Who degreed that every plan created by politicians has to become a tax.

  7. This is wrong in that UC is favoring one victim group over all the other victim groups. If they are offering “free” tuition in order to advance diversity (as they define it), UC should announce that everyone gets “free” tuition except white heterosexual males. Look at the victim groups that are being kicked to the kerb: women, sodomites, blacks, Hispanics, Indians from India, Asians, Pacific Islanders and all other groups that are not white heterosexual male. And since white heterosexual males have victimized every group in the world except themselves, they should be taxed in order to pay for the tuition of the unfortunate people they have victimized. Sound fair?

  8. demo-rats keeping race-baiting alive and well in the once Golden State. the state cannot pay for all their social programs now.

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