Arizona Provides $17 Million for College

Sep 15th, 1999 | By | Category: 11-1: 10th Anniversary Issue, Tribal College News

The Arizona Legislature has passed an historic law that will return a small portion of taxes collected on the Navajo Nation. The money will assist Diné College with improving its facilities within Arizona. The college will receive $1.5 million for FY 2000 and $1.75 million for the next nine years for a total of $17.25 million. This is the largest appropriation by the state to an Indian tribe for education in history. Diné College is the only tribally controlled college in Arizona.

“It was truly a bipartisan effort. I would like to personally acknowledge Speaker of the House Jeff Groscrost; Representatives Tom Gordon, Sylvia Laughter, Deborah Norris; Senators Jack Jackson, Rusty Bowers, and Senate President Brenda Burns; our Vice President for Development, Ferlin Clark; and many others for their generous support,” said Dr. Tommy Lewis, president of Diné College.

The funds will be used for construction of new facilities and improvements for existing Diné College facilities within Arizona. The Diné College Tuba City Center is a first priority. According to Ferlin Clark, the funds will come from the State Transaction Privilege Tax revenues collected from the Navajo Nation. The bill creates a government-to-government and tax sharing partnership between the Navajo Nation and the state of Arizona for the benefit of Navajo students.

Diné College is currently not a part of any community college district, and as a result, it has been ineligible to receive state funding. Dr. Tommy Lewis and Ferlin Clark said they would like to see this Arizona model followed by the states of New Mexico and Utah in the future. “The Navajo Nation supported the college’s effort in seeking Arizona state funding. Now the Navajo Nation needs to maintain its current funding level at a minimum of $2 million in order for the college to secure a stable funding stream while assuring long-term accreditation for the college,” Clark said.

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