Local News

UC System Announces Native American Opportunity Plan

By: Isla Patrick

Center Editor 

The University of California (UC) system announced in April that beginning Fall 2022, Native American students will receive a fully-funded education at all campuses under the Native American Opportunity Plan. UC President Michael V. Drake, M.D. said, “I am hopeful that this new aid will benefit our students and continue to position the University of California as the institution of choice for Native American students.”

UC schools already offer one of the highest levels of financial aid of all higher learning institutions in the country. On average, a little over half of their in-state students receive enough aid to cover their education fully. Shawn Brick, the executive director of student financial support at the UCs, stated that the new plan is mainly to help support Native American students who would not ordinarily qualify for this level of financial aid. According to Spectrum News 1, the plan is also “a way to right historical wrongs against the first people who called America home” and economically boost Native communities in California.

Members of Native American, American Indian, and Alaska Native students make up only 0.16 percent of total UC students as of 2019. President Drake hopes that, as a result, “more Native American students choose to apply to UC and accept our offers of admission.” In addition to the system-wide benefits, “each campus has a unique portfolio of programs, resources, and academic offerings that engage the full participation of American Indians throughout the course of their undergraduate and graduate education.”

To qualify for the Native American Opportunity Plan, students must have a tribal identification card, a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood, or an enrollment card that contains the tribal seal or official signature of a tribal leader. When students qualify, UC will contact them directly with more information.

(Sources: Morongo Band of Mission Indians, Spectrum News 1, University of California)

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