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Bill Gives Tribal Colleges Stronger Voice In Education

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (DMont.) joined his colleagues Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), in introducing the National Advisory Council on Indian Education Improvement Act. The bill would give Tribal Colleges and Universities greater input over federal funding discussions that impact them.

“Tribal colleges and universities play a key role in educating Montana’s future leaders,” Tester said. “That’s why it’s critically important that TCU leaders have the chance to work directly with the Departments of Education and the Interior to make sure federal dollars are being spent efficiently and effectively. I’m proud to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support TCU students, and look forward to getting this bill across the finish line.”

“Tribal colleges and universities deserve a seat at the table.” Fischer said. “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.”

The Department of Education’s Tribal advisory group, the National Advisory Council on Indian Education, advises the Secretaries of Education and Interior on programs serving tribes and their members. As of now, NACIE releases an annual report, but the Department of Education does not have a process for considering NACIE’s report when developing its budget request.

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

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