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Rounds, Fischer and Colleagues Introduce Bill Giving Tribal Colleges and Universities a Stronger Voice in Education Funding

WASHINGTON U.S. Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) introduced the National Advisory Council on Indian Education Improvement Act. This legislation would give Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) greater input over federal funding discussions that impact them.

“Leaders of Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) know the needs of their organizations, faculty and students better than anyone else,” said Rounds. “This commonsense bill will enable TCUs to have a voice for how to meet those needs, and it will improve the effectiveness of federal resources. The inclusion of TCU partners will help support the work of the National Advisory Council on Indian Education. I will continue working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this bipartisan legislation, which will have a positive impact on the growth of TCUs for years to come.”

“Tribal Colleges and Universities deserve a seat at the table,” said Fischer. “This legislation will ensure the Depts. of Education and Interior hear directly from TCU leaders about their specific needs and how federal resources can address them. I appreciate the strong, bipartisan support our bill has already received, and I’ll continue to work with my Senate colleagues to get this done.” 

Under the Department of Education, the National Advisory Council on Indian Education (NACIE) advises the Secretaries of Education and Interior on programs serving tribes and their members. NACIE releases an annual report; however, the Department of Education does not have a process for considering NACIE’s report when developing its budget request. Furthermore, Department of Education tribal consultation sessions often do not allow the opportunity for TCU leaders to provide direct input.

The National Advisory Council on Indian Education Improvement Act would address these challenges by requiring at least one of NACIE’s members to be the president of a TCU. Additionally, it would require the Secretaries of Education and Interior to consider NACIE’s annual report when preparing their budgets each year.

Rounds and Fischer were joined by Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).

Click HERE for full bill text.