WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.), along with U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Jon Tester (D-Mon.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), introduced bipartisan legislation – the National Advisory Council on Indian Education Improvement Act – aimed at giving Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) greater input over federal funding and policymaking that impacts them.
“Minnesota’s Tribal Colleges are important institutions that serve Native and non-Native students alike in some of the most impoverished and geographically isolated regions of the country,” said Smith. “These institutions deserve a seat at the table when federal agencies make decisions that impact them. I’m proud of this bipartisan effort to support TCUs and their students and look forward to getting this bill across the finish line.”
“The 35 accredited Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) in the U.S., which together form the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, commend Senators Fischer and Tester for their leadership in introducing this important legislation. The National Advisory Council on Indian Education Act will ensure Tribal College and University voices are included and supported throughout the council’s work, thereby strengthening the K-16 pathway for American Indian and Alaska Native students. We urge Congress to swiftly pass this much needed legislation,”said Carrie L. Billy, President and CEO of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium.
The National Advisory Council on Indian Education (NACIE) advises the Secretaries of Education and Interior on programs serving Native students of all ages. NACIE releases an annual report, but neither Department has a process for considering NACIE’s report when developing its budget request. Additionally, none of NACIE’s members represent TCUs.
The National Advisory Council on Indian Education Improvement Act would address these challenges by:
- Requiring at least one of NACIE’s members be the president of a Tribal College or University
- Requiring the Secretaries of Education and Interior to consider NACIE’s annual report when preparing their budgets each year
Text of the National Advisory Council on Indian Education Improvement Act can be found here.