Lodi News-Sentinel

Native American students can soon get free tuition at University of California

- Sawsan Morrar

Tuition at the University of California’s campuses will be free for California residents who are from federally recognized Native American tribes, according to an internal announceme­nt on Friday.

In a letter to UC chancellor­s, UC President Michael Drake said tuition and student fees will be fully covered for all California residents who are members of Native American, American Indian and Alaska Native tribes starting in fall 2022. There are more than 100 federally recognized tribes in California, according to the university system.

“The University of California is committed to recognizin­g and acknowledg­ing historical wrongs endured by Native Americans,” read Drake’s letter.

Tuition for undergradu­ate students who are California residents costs about $13,000 for the 2022-2023 school year.

About 280,000 students attend the University of California’s 10 campuses. Less than 1% of students at the University of California identify as American Indian or Native American. About 1.6% of California­ns identify as Native American or Native Alaskan, according to the U.S. Census.

The program will be funded through state and university financial aid. Drake’s letter refers to graduate and undergradu­ate students benefiting from the new effort.

The university notified campus chancellor­s of the new program last week but the Office of the President said it is working to implement the details.

“I am hopeful that this new program will benefit our students and continue to position the University of California as the institutio­n of choice for Native American students,” read the letter.

Native American enrollment in undergradu­ate programs remained relatively consistent in the last five years, but the university system saw an increase in Native American enrollment in doctoral and profession­al programs across its campuses.

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