Augsburg University is launching one of the nation’s first comprehensive full-tuition programs at a private institution to support and recognize the importance of American Indians within higher education.
In this context, Augsburg defines “American Indian” as an enrolled member of a federally recognized American Indian tribe, Alaskan Native Village, or Canadian First Nation; a direct descendant of a parent or grandparent who is an enrolled member of the above; or a direct descendant of a tribally verified member of the above.
Unlike programs in many public institutions, Augsburg’s program does not limit eligibility to American Indian students who live in the state. In addition, the Augsburg American Indian Recognition Full Tuition Program provides access for both full-time undergraduate students as well as adult learners in any of the university’s degree completion bachelor’s programs. This new program will begin in the Fall 2022 semester for both new and continuing eligible students.
“One of our commitments at Augsburg is to bring an equity lens to affordability,” said Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow. “This program is one step toward recognizing the profound contributions American Indian students and their communities make to the university and within higher education more broadly.”
Regent Eric Jolly described the program as “groundbreaking among private universities nationwide.” He added, “At the same time, it is absolutely in line with Augsburg’s long-standing commitments to intentional diversity and inclusive excellence. I hope this is just the first of many institutions designing creative and equitable paths to education for native and First Nations people.”
Students who apply for the program do not need to be enrolled as an American Indian tribal member, establish residence on trust land, or be Minnesota residents.
Through this program, Augsburg seeks to support and promote American Indians within the Augsburg community.
“My mom and dad told me my whole life, you’re going to college. It was a ‘where’ and not an ‘if.’ What I needed from a school—the main thing that was going to make or break it—was if I could afford it,” said Reuben Kitto Stately ’22, a student from both the Red Lake Nation and Santee Sioux Nation. “But the culture of the campus, the way the Native students support each other, was also a big selling point. This part of the south side of Minneapolis is the most concentrated urban Native population in the whole country.”
“The systemic injustices that have limited access to higher education for many American Indian students need structural solutions,” said Vice President for Equity and Inclusion Joanne Reeck. “This program is one step that we as an institution can take.”
Top image: Reuben Kitto Stately ’22 is an Augsburg student from both the Red Lake Nation and Santee Sioux Nation. (Photo by Courtney Perry)