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NAU to provide full tuition to members of Arizona's federally recognized tribes

NAU will provide full tuition coverage for members of Arizona’s 22 federally recognized tribes beginning in fall 2023. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

NAU will provide full tuition coverage for members of Arizona’s 22 federally recognized tribes beginning in fall 2023. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Northern Arizona University announced Nov. 14 it will provide full tuition coverage for members of Arizona’s 22 federally recognized tribes beginning in fall 2023 through an expansion to the Access2Excellence initiative.

Ensuring access to an affordable, high-quality education is the foundation of NAU’s vision, the university said.

This extension of A2E for members of Arizona’s 22 federally recognized tribes reflects NAU’s strategic priority of being the nation’s leading university serving Indigenous Peoples. Now, NAU will ensure tuition coverage is not dependent on family income level and will apply to all new and transfer students, including those who live outside of Arizona but are members of the 22 Arizona tribes.

“At NAU, we pride ourselves on our service to Native American students and the communities they represent,” said NAU President José Luis Cruz Rivera. “Extending A2E eligibility for our Arizona tribal members is an important step as we plant seeds for the success of future generations of Native American students at NAU. My thanks to our team and our engaged tribal partners who work every day to make higher education accessible and affordable to all.”

NAU is creating pathways to enhance access to higher education for Native American students, building on a foundation that has placed the university at the forefront of institutions across the nation in awarding degrees to Indigenous students.

“Last year on Indigenous Peoples Day, President Cruz Rivera announced a redoubling of our efforts to better partner with and serve Indigenous communities in Arizona by expanding access to Native American students and supporting their success,” said Ann Marie Chischilly, Vice President for Native American Initiatives. “Today’s announcement follows through on that commitment. I am honored that NAU is so focused on advancing our work as an Indigenous serving institution for the betterment of the native nations of Arizona and beyond.

NAU offers a community of support for Native American and Indigenous students at the university. From the Native American Cultural Center, a centrally located cultural and programming space that serves as a home away from home for Indigenous students on campus, to the Office of Indigenous Student Success and the newly launched Indigenous Peoples Living-Learning Community.

The university is uniquely positioned to set the standard for Native American student access and success in higher education. NAU’s Flagstaff Mountain Campus is located in close proximity to 11 tribal nations, including the Navajo Nation, which has the largest Native American population in the United States, and the university’s footprint in more than 20 statewide locations offers many access points to meet students where they live and learn.

“Many Native American students chose to join the workforce because the cost of attending college is just too expensive," said Lena Fowler, chair of NAU's Native American Advisory Board. “With NAU extending its Access to Excellence (A2E) program to Arizona’s 22 federally recognized Native American Tribes, this gives our Native American students the opportunity to pursue their dream of earning a higher education at NAU.”

“On the Navajo Nation, thousands of students graduate from high school each year. For many, going to college is not affordable," said Jonathan Nez, president of the Navajo Nation, NAU alumnus and member of the NAU Native American Advisory Board. “With NAU extending its Access to Excellence program to Arizona’s 22 federally recognized tribal nations, Navajo students will be encouraged to know that they can go to NAU without having to worry about how they will pay for tuition.”

Details about A2E for members of Arizona’s 22 federally recognized tribes can be found online at nau.edu/a2e.

Specific questions about financial support can be answered by calling NAU’s Student Service Center at (928) 523-9501.

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