Council to mull scholarship funding options

BY STAFF REPORTS
08/07/2017 02:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – According to a Tribal Council press release, the Tribal Council’s Executive and Finance Committee will hold a special session to review funding for the Cherokee Nation Promise Scholarships at 4:30 p.m., on Aug. 15, in the Council Meeting Room in the W.W. Keeler Complex.

The release states the decision to meet regarding the scholarships was prompted by a notice sent to incoming Fall 2017 freshmen Cherokee Promise Scholars informing them they would be receiving less than the $4,600 per semester in funding students have traditionally received. According to a statement from Education Services Executive director Ron Etheridge, the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act has in the past funded $2,600 of the scholarships. It added that federal funding faces cuts under the Trump administration, and the amount of NAHASDA funds available to the tribe remains uncertain. Additionally, a record number of students, 98, applied for a program that currently has 54 participants at Northeastern State University, Rogers State University and Connors State College, Etheridge stated.

According to the release, students will receive the $2,000 per semester Cherokee Nation undergraduate scholarship and are eligible for $1,000 per semester for college housing assistance through the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation, which uses NAHASDA funds, leaving a $1,600 gap per student.

The release states Tribal Council Speaker Joe Byrd, along with Executive and Finance Chairwoman Janees Taylor have been in discussions with Treasurer Lacey Horn to review potential funding options to share with the committee during the special meeting.?

“The Cherokee Nation is facing a present NAHASDA funding issue with regard to the tribe’s Marshal Service,” said Byrd. “The shortfall, in that case, is a little over $1.3 million, and the council, with help from Cherokee Nation Businesses and other programs, is going to fill the gap. Cuts to federal funding are going to create issues across the board in Indian Country, and have the potential to affect a variety of programs. We hope to learn of these shortages quickly, so that we can review other funding options in a timely manner. Unfortunately, in the case of the scholarships, we got the information later than anyone would have preferred.”

Etheridge said current CN scholars – sophomores, juniors and seniors – are unaffected by the shortfall, and would remain fully funded for the duration of their scholarship awards. No scholarships have been rescinded.

News

BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
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BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
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BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
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BY STAFF REPORTS
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BY STAFF REPORTS
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