UIC to offer in-state tuition to American Indian, Alaska Native students

CHICAGO -- The University of Illinois at Chicago is offering in-state tuition to students who are members of any of the 573 tribal nations recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the school announced Tuesday.

While representation of minority groups including blacks and Hispanics has improved, the same cannot be said for American Indian and Alaska Native students. These groups have the lowest representation of any group on college and university campuses nationally, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Education.

Currently there are about 600 students at UIC who identify as American Indian/Alaska Native and multiracial, according to Cynthia Soto, director of the Native American Support Program at UIC.

UIC is attempting to remedy this with their in-state tuition deal, which will help students save up to $14,000 per year.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs does not currently list any tribes in Illinois, the school said in its press release, though Illinois was historically home to several indigenous tribes including the Potawatomie, Ojibwa and Odawa tribes, who were driven out. Wisconsin and Michigan each list at least a dozen recognized tribes. Indiana also lists one recognized tribe.

Eligibility for the tuition offer isn't dependent on students' state of residence. As long as students meet all of UIC's admission standards and are able to provide proof of membership to a federally recognized tribe, they are eligible for the offer.