UW-Madison launches program to cover Indigenous students’ full costs, including tuition and housing

Dec 18, 2023, 10:48 AM

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Indigenous students from any of Wisconsin’s 11 tribes will be able to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison for free beginning next fall, Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin announced Monday.

The Wisconsin Tribal Education Promise program will use private donations and other internal funding to cover tuition, fees, housing, meals, books and other expenses for undergraduate students who can prove they’re members of one of Wisconsin’s tribes, Mnookin said at a news conference.

Confirmed tribal members who pursue a law or medical degree will get their tuition and fees covered as well. The program will begin with the fall 2024 semester.

The program is similar to Bucky’s Tuition Promise and Bucky’s Pell Pathway programs. Bucky’s Tuition Promise guarantees the university will cover tuition and fees for students from low-income households. Bucky’s Pell Pathway program covers the full financial needs of students from low-income families through grants, scholarships and work-study opportunities.

In-state undergraduates currently pay about $28,000 per year to attend UW-Madison. That includes tuition, fees, housing and transportation. Tuition and fees total about $11,200.

Faith Helen, UW-Madison’s director of student financial aid, said she didn’t know how many students might take advantage of the Indigenous program. Mnookin said UW-Madison doesn’t track Indigenous students’ ethnicity, relying mostly on self-reporting. Right now, about 650 students identify as Indigenous and most are undergraduates, she said, but some students could be from outside Wisconsin or may not be confirmed tribal members.

The announcement comes less than a week after Universities of Wisconsin regents reached an agreement with Republican legislators to freeze diversity hires across campuses and shift at least 43 diversity positions to “student success” positions in exchange for money to fund employee raises and construction projects, including a new engineering building at UW-Madison.

Opponents accused the regents of selling out students of color and LGBTQ+ students. Regents insisted that the deal wouldn’t slow inclusion efforts on campuses. Mnookin said Monday that the Indigenous coverage plan has been in the works for at least a year, but that it shows how UW-Madison remains committed to diversity.

Shannon Holsey, president of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians, and Ho-Chunk Nation President Jon Greendeer, also attended the news conference. Holsey called the aid program “cycle-breaking” for Indigenous youth.

“It certainly is a significant and historic day,” she said. “We are incredibly grateful to UW-Madison.”

Greendeer said the program eliminates one of many barriers Indigenous students face when trying to obtain a college degree. He added that tribes sometimes frown upon college because students often leave their native culture behind and that tribal leaders need to do more to encourage Indigenous youth to seek post-secondary education.

“We have work to do,” he said.

According to a report released last year by the Hunt Institute, a nonprofit that works to improve education policy, Indigenous students make up about 1% of the nation’s post-secondary students.

The report cites academic preparation and the cost of college as two major barriers to Indigenous enrollment, noting that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health reported the median household income for Indigenous people was $49,906 in 2019. The median household income for non-Hispanic white households was $71,664.

United States News

Donald Trump speaks to the media as he arrives to court during his trial for allegedly covering up ...

Associated Press

Trump prosecutor focuses on ‘cover-up’ in closing arguments while defense attacks key witness

Donald Trump engaged in “a conspiracy and a cover-up,” a prosecutor told jurors during closing arguments Tuesday in the former president's hush money trial.

32 minutes ago

Associated Press

A driver with an Oregon-based medical care nonprofit is fatally shot in Ethiopia while in a convoy

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A staff member with an Oregon medical care nonprofit was killed when the team he was traveling with in a convoy was fired upon in Ethiopia, officials said Monday. Mustefa Alkisim was a Medical Teams International driver traveling in the insecure Amhara region of Ethiopia Friday when men fired at the […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

European-Japanese climate research satellite launched from California aboard SpaceX rocket

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — A European-Japanese climate research satellite designed to study Earth’s temperature balance was launched into orbit from California on Tuesday. The EarthCARE satellite lifted off from coastal Vandenberg Space Force Base atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 3:20 p.m. The satellite was successfully deployed about 10 minutes later, […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Former California water official pleads guilty to conspiring to steal water from irrigation canal

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — A former California water official has pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal water in a deal with federal prosecutors in the state’s crop-rich Central Valley. The Los Angeles Times reports Tuesday that 78-year-old Dennis Falaschi, who used to head the Panoche Water District, entered the plea in federal court in Fresno. […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Prosecutors build their case at bribery trial of Sen. Bob Menendez with emails and texts

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors were presenting their bribery case against New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez drip-by-drip on Tuesday, showing jurors a steady stream of documents, emails and phone records that they’ll explain more thoroughly later in the trial. The evidence was being shown to Manhattan federal court jurors through the testimony of an FBI […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Authorities urge proper cooking of wild game after 6 relatives fall ill from parasite in bear meat

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reaffirmed the importance of properly cooking wild game after six people became sick from a parasite traced to undercooked bear meat that was served at a family reunion in South Dakota. The six — one in South Dakota, four in Minnesota and one […]

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.



Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

UW-Madison launches program to cover Indigenous students’ full costs, including tuition and housing