Native Tuition Waiver

Published October 2019

By Jasznia Marshall

Higher education has become a privilege for students living in the US. For many students in Alaska, especially students from rural areas, paying upwards of $17,000 each semester seems out of reach. If the dream is possible, it still results in many postgraduates being buried in debt from loans. When considering college my senior year of high school, all the options seemed out of limit for me. I knew that I wanted to attend school out of state, but that meant higher tuition rates. Thinking about working for years after earning my degree just to remain tied to the burden of debt seemed pointless.

Although it can be discouraging to look at colleges knowing that the majority of them are far out of your price range, it helped in the long run because I landed on a particular school in Durango, Colorado called “Fort Lewis College.” Fort Lewis is one of the few colleges in the US that offers free tuition for Native American students. The Native Tuition Waiver dates back to over 100 years ago. Fort Lewis was a US military post and Indian Boarding School owned by the government until 1910. The Federal Government offered land to the state of Colorado under two requirements:

  • Lands and buildings are to be maintained as an institution of learning
  • Indian pupils must be admitted to such school free of charge for tuition, thus on terms of equality with white pupils.

This is an opportunity for shareholders to experience higher education outside of Alaska that many don’t know about until they are well into their college career. Shareholders who are interested in Fort Lewis and their program for the tuition waiver can find information on their website: www.fortlewis.edu.

To learn more about other programs similar to the tuition waiver visit: https://nativeyouth2college.org/resources/u-s-colleges-and-universities-offering-in-state-tuition-and-tuition-waivers-for-native-american-students/