Christina Rose
Jazmine Good Iron (Standing Rock), left, and Adonica Little (Ogalala), right, sit in front of Oglala Lakota College in Rapid City, South Dakota.

Interior Announces First Transfer to Cobell Education Fund for Native Students

Vincent Schilling
4/6/14

On April 2 the Department of the Interior announced that quarterly transfers of nearly $580,000 are set to begin this week to the American Indian College Fund. The Cobell Education Fund is part of the historic Cobell Settlement fund of 2012, which will provide financial assistance to American Indian and Alaska Native students wishing to pursue post-secondary education and training.

“The Scholarship Fund is an important tool to help students across Indian country pursue higher education opportunities imperative to their success in the workplace and to the creation of the next generation of Indian leaders,” said Interior Solicitor Hilary Tompkins in a press release. Tompkins helped negotiate the Cobell Settlement on behalf of the Department of the Interior.

“While there was much debate in the settlement negotiations, there was no debate among the parties that we must do something to support Indian students in their aspirations and dreams,” she said.

According to the Interior, the scholarship fund is financed in part by the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations. The program was created by the Cobell Settlement, which provided $1.9 billion to purchase fractionated interests in trust or restricted land from willing landowners. As an incentive to participate in the land consolidation program, a percentage of each purchase is donated to the Cobell Education Scholarship Fund.

The American Indian College Fund in Denver, Colorado will be in charge of administering the scholarship fund monies to eligible students interested in enrolling or currently enrolled in tribal colleges, technical and vocational programs and undergraduate and graduate programs.

Eligible students must be enrolled in an accredited, non-profit, U.S. institution that awards graduating students either bachelor’s degrees or career and technical certificates, or students that are pursuing post-baccalaureate graduate or professional degree as a full-time degree-seeking student at an accredited institution in the U.S. Online degrees are covered as long as they meet the above requirements.

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