Sept. 11, 2014 – As part of the 2014 Memorandum of Understanding between the Ute Indian Tribe and the University of Utah, a scholarship fund for eligible tribal members has been established through the University’s Scholarship Office.
University departments have long offered a variety of scholarships for Native American students; this is the first fund created specifically for Ute students and is done in part to recognize the tribe’s permission to use the “Utes” name for the U’s athletics teams.
“The University community is proud of its ongoing relationship with the Ute Indian Tribe, and the scholarship fund is one step in our efforts to promote educational benefits for tribal youth,” says Mary Parker, associate vice president of enrollment management at the U.
“Many people have a misconception that Native American students are fully funded by the U.S. government, the state or their tribes. Unfortunately, this is untrue,” says Franci Taylor, director of the University’s American Indian Resource Center. “According to student surveys and comments, lack of funding is what a majority of American Indian students list as the most significant barrier to completion of a university degree. Through these scholarships, it is the University’s aim to make college as affordable and accessible to as many bright and motivated students as we can.”
Scholarships will be awarded by the Scholarship Selection Committee, comprised of two members of the Ute Indian Tribe and three members of university administration—associate vice president for enrollment, the scholarship director and the director of the American Indian Resource Center. The number of scholarships available each year will depend on the number of eligible applicants and the amounts available.
“We welcome all positive educational opportunities for Ute and other American Indian youth,” says Forrest Cuch, member of the Ute Indian Tribe and scholarship committee. “Scholarships will be a strong encouragement to our kids to continue their educations.”
Applicants for the scholarships, which will amount to $8,000 for the year ($4,000 per semester), will be evaluated on academic merit, leadership, commitment to citizenship, school activities and community engagement, in addition to tribal affiliation.
Revenue from a combination of merchandise sales, private donors and other sources will supply the fund.
More information about the Ute Indian Tribe and its relationship with the University of Utah is available online at Ute Proud.