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Support for Native American students

The scholarship initiative expands on the U's commitment to Utah's tribal nations.

The University of Utah announced two initiatives this week to grow its commitment to making the U more accessible for Utah students.

President Taylor Randall announced at the 16th Annual Governor’s Native American Summit—hosted on the U campus—that the university is exploring scholarship options for Native students. University of Utah enrollment data for the last five years indicates on average, 120 students self-identify as American Indian or Alaska Native each year. The first scholarships will be awarded in spring 2023 to students enrolled in one of the eight tribal nations in Utah.

“My vision for the U is to impact the lives of all 3.3 million Utahns. This includes members of Utah’s tribal nations. This is a vital part of committing the U to deliver a transformative educational experience to communities across Utah,” said Randall after the announcement.

The details of how these scholarship options will be implemented are still being determined and will be shared soon. Campus administrators look forward to reducing this major financial barrier to higher education for Native American students in the state.

“I’m so glad this essential effort is moving forward at the U,” said Lori McDonald, vice president for student affairs. “It is an important step in our ongoing dedication to promoting student well-being and success. We will continue to expand and improve our support and retention measures to help students achieve their goals.”

The scholarship initiative expands on the U’s commitment to Utah’s tribal nations, said Mary Ann Villarreal, vice president for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. “We are thrilled about expanding our support of Native American communities,” Villarreal added. “This announcement cements our commitment to Native American students that coming to the U is about more than just obtaining a great education. It is a recognition that our land acknowledgment is a living statement with the recognition that we will build new futures together.”

Also, starting Aug. 1, application fees will be waived for first-time, first-year students who have a permanent mailing address in Utah, or attend a tribal high school in the state.

Students and families with questions can email vpedi@utah.edu.