The UTTC Board of Directors voted Friday to institutionalize a program that has been allowing students in need to attend the technical college tuition-free.
One program recipient, Rollie Knight always planned on going to college down the road.
He says, “It’s something I’ve been wanting to do ever since I was younger.”
But after hearing about a tuition waiver program at United Tribes Technical College, he learned he didn’t have to wait.
Knight adds, “I’ve experienced life a little bit and I know what life is like now without an education, so I better just get one.”
The program started two years ago as a part of a bigger plan to repay tuition costs for students.
UTTC President Leander McDonald says, “It really helped them to have success in regards to their academics because they weren’t worrying about the financial piece, and they were able to concentrate on class.”
They decided to make it permanent after seeing students’ GPAs increase nearly half a grade level.
McDonald explains, “Students who prepare to go to school and plan to go to school have higher grade point averages.”
The waiver is available for all majors, from business administration students like Rollie to the tribal art department.
And by the end of the program’s first semester, UTTC enrollment increased by 23 percent.
Casa Hohenstein is also studying business. She says because the tution waiver program covers most of her needs, she can spend her time studying instead of working.
She says, “It gives me the hope that I need to say, ‘Hey I can do this.’ My financial budget works right now.”
From UTTC, Hohenstein has plans to pursue a masters degree and a Juris Doctor in American Indian law.
Hohenstein says, “I try to encourage other students to keep pushing for it in their academics so you can get that tuition waiver. Because it’s more of a gift and I’m really thankful for that gift, because it helps get you to that next stepping stone.”
Knight says his plans are to “one day open my own business and become known as a business man of sorts.”
Students who qualify must be a member of an American Indian Tribe. The deadline to apply for the waiver is June 29th.