Northern MN Tribal Colleges to Testify for State Funding Bill
As bills pass through the Minnesota House and Senate, one that will begin to circulate among committees could provide important funding to tribal colleges.
The HF 750 bill would allocate funding to three northern Minnesota tribal colleges to allow not only for financial assistance, but support for students and staff as well.
The bill, authored by Representative Heather Keeler of District 4A, proposes to allocate $6 million to Leech Lake Tribal College, Red Lake Nation College, and White Earth Tribal College over two fiscal years. The funds would go toward operating expenses and require the colleges to provide an audit to state commissioners.
Currently, tribal colleges like Leech Lake Tribal College are primarily funded through federal grants and tribal governmental assistance. While some funding comes from the state, this is mostly in the form of scholarships to students.
Leech Lake Tribal College President Helen Montgomery says the funds would help to strengthen the position of the college’s staff and faculty. Montgomery says that on average, staff is currently being paid $15,000 to $20,000 less than their peers at other universities.
Along with offering a competitive wage, Montgomery says these funds would help staff with other challenges, such as inflation.
The HF 750 bill will be presented to the Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 10:30 a.m. Montgomery will be one of those testifying in support of the bill.
Lakeland News is member supported content. Please consider supporting Lakeland News today.