U. of U. to offer scholarships to Indigenous students in Utah
SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah announced last week that they will start offering scholarships to Indigenous students who are members of Utah’s eight federally recognized tribes.
University of Utah President Taylor Randall spoke with KSL NewsRadio’s Debbie Dujanovic and Dave Noriega to discuss the new program.
“We’ve got to make education more accessible and affordable for all 3.3 million Utahns,” Randall said. “We’re doing a deep dive on specific communities that we think need more access to the University of Utah. One of the first ones that’s come up that we felt we could make a difference on were Utah’s tribal communities.”
Randall said there are about 120 U. of U. students who self-identify as American Indian. He also explained that it is not just a tuition waiver that future American Indian students will receive.
Private donors to fund scholarships
“This isn’t going to be a waiver. We’ve actually raised scholarship money for this, so they’ll be receiving scholarships, all undergraduates that want to come here to the U. of U.,” said Randall.
He added the scholarships will be funded through private donations.
“There are many donors — it’s been remarkable — many donors that are reaching out and saying, ‘Hey, look, we would like to participate in this program,'” said Randall.
Welcoming Indigenous students to the U. of U.
Of the 120 Indigenous students at the university, Dave said, “I think that’s a pretty shocking number, especially [since] the University of Utah has got over 30,000 students. To see just a fraction of a fraction of Native Americans enrolling, what do you attribute that to?”
Affordability is a factor, he said, but so is a welcoming campus environment.
“We have an American Indian Resource Center, and its new task — we will have a new leader there shortly — is to recruit, retain, graduate and promote culture . . . really increase the cultural awareness on our campus of the tribes . . . and their role and the history that they’ve played in the state,” Randall said.
In addition to the scholarships, he said in the future the “wraparound services” may include housing, counseling and career mentoring.
“How to really then be a contributing member of your community after you have your education is part of it,” Randall said.
Utah’s eight federally recognized Indigenous tribes include:
- Confederated Tribes of Goshute Indians
- Northern Ute Tribe
- Northwestern Band of Shoshone
- Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah
- San Juan Southern Paiute
- Skull Valley Band of Goshute
- White Mesa Band of the Ute Mountain Ute
Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.
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