PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Thanks to state funding, Indigenous students now have a new grant opportunity for financial aid at Portland State University, among others.

According to PSU, Oregon’s Higher Education Coordinating Commission announced a “historic investment” for the Oregon Tribal Student grant that will cover college-related expenses during the 2022-2023 academic year for eligible students who are enrolled members of Oregon’s nine federally recognized tribes.

The grant, proposed by Gov. Kate Brown and approved by Oregon Legislature, is designed to address long-standing barriers to higher education and can be applied to undergraduate or graduate study at Oregon public colleges and universities, added the university.

“Portland State is thrilled to see this historic financial aid offering and to welcome Native American students to our campus,” said Portland State University President Stephen Percy. “Our university is committed to working with community and Tribal partners to create a welcoming educational environment for Indigenous students and we are proud of our established Indigenous Nations and Native American studies programs and the emerging integration of Indigenous knowledge and focus across many of our programs from public health to architecture to environmental science.”

PSU said the grant promises to be a “game-changer” for Tribal students, providing access to many who may have not otherwise considered college as an option.

The HECC reports that among Native American/Alaska Native undergraduates at Oregon public institutions, 40% of those who apply for financial aid cannot afford college costs.

“Oregon is home to nine federally recognized Tribes and the city of Portland has a large urban Native community, but Native students are only a small part of our college campuses,” said Cree Rose Dueker, assistant director of admission at Portland State. “With this financial investment into the future of Oregon’s Tribal students, we are demonstrating our commitment to their belonging and success on our campuses. I am so proud of our state for recognizing the need to honor, support and uplift the local tribes whose traditional and ancestral homelands our campuses are situated on.”

The university offers a range of programs for Native populations including scholarships, programs and student groups through the Native American Student & Community Center.

“It is exciting to announce the Oregon Tribal Student Grant program for qualifying Tribal students,” said Trevino Brings Plenty, coordinator of Native American student services at Portland State. “These opportunities are some of the steps needed in developing good relationships with the Tribes whose ancestral territory the state of Oregon currently occupies. I look forward to the incoming Indigenous scholars this program will help fund toward degree completion.”

According to PSU, the Oregon Tribal Student Grant is expected to pay for most or all public college-related expenses — including tuition, housing, books, and other costs not covered by other grants — for eligible students who are enrolled members of Oregon’s nine federally recognized tribes.

Those tribes include:

  • Burns Paiute Tribe
  • Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians
  • Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde
  • Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians
  • Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
  • Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
  • Coquille Indian Tribe
  • Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians
  • Klamath Tribes

More information about the grant, visit here.