Last Monday, the University of Arizona announced that going forward, Native American students will not have to pay tuition or other academic fees at its main campus in Tucson. Right now, the cost of tuition on this campus is $12,700 per semester. The hope is that this program will help serve Arizona’s sizable Native communities.
The goal is to eradicate some of the systemic hurdles and barriers that Native American students have faced historically and still endure today. Currently, only around 25 percent of Native students pursue higher education, a fraction of the 40 percent of students overall who do so, according to the Postsecondary National Policy Institute.
“The University of Arizona is committed to recognizing and acknowledging the history endured by Native American communities,” said the institution’s vice president of enrollment management Kasey Urquídez. “We are committed to promoting access and success for Indigenous students.”
The introduction of such a program, which is offered to any students registered to any of the state’s 22 federally recognized tribes, is the first of its kind in an Arizona public university. However, other public universities in California, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, and Oregon are already offering free tuition to Native students.