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Davis, California

Monday, February 26, 2024

UC to waive tuition, fees for Native American students

UC campuses will begin waiving tuition and fees for Native American students who are state residents and members of federally recognized tribes 


By JENNIFER MA — campus@theaggie.org 


On April 22, UC President Michael Drake announced the launch of the UC Native American Opportunity Plan, a program that aims to make the university more affordable for California’s Native American students. 

This program will fully cover tuition and fees for California residents who are members of federally recognized Native American, American Indian and Alaska Native tribes. There are 109 federally recognized tribes in California, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Office of Federal Recognition.

The plan will be funded through a combination of existing state and university financial aid programs as well as other resources. 

California residents from non-federally recognized tribes could still benefit from this program, according to the letter Drake sent out to UC chancellors.

“Tuition scholarships for California residents from California’s non-federally recognized tribes may be available through external organizations,” Drake said in the letter. “More information about these scholarships will be provided by [UC Office of the President] at a future date.” 

The program is set to begin in fall 2022. Both Native American undergraduate and graduate students are eligible as long as they meet the previously stated requirements. 

“This program will provide opportunities and support for Native American, American Indian and Alaska Native students — a community that contributes to the academic and student achievements of our campus,” Chancellor Gary May said via email. “At UC Davis, we recognize this program as another step on a path of atonement and respect to the Native community and Native Nations. This program will help us remove barriers for Native students and reaffirms UC Davis is within reach.”

Data from fall of 2021 shows that 1,467 combined undergraduate and graduate students identified as American Indian or Native American across the UC system. At UC Davis specifically, there were 185 students that identified as American Indian or Native American; these students constitute 0.5% of the student body.  

“Native American students are among the most underrepresented groups within higher education, including at UC, and we hope this program will encourage more of them to apply for and choose to enroll at a UC campus,” said Ryan King, the associate director of media relations for the UC Office of the President.

As of May 19, the Native American Academic Student Success Center at UC Davis did not respond to a request for comment. 


Written by: Jennifer Ma — campus@theaggie.org  



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