Fischer-sponsored bill gives tribal colleges and universities a seat at the funding table

U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) recently sponsored a bipartisan bill that would give tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) more input over federal education funding discussions that impact them.

“Tribal colleges and universities deserve a seat at the table,” Sen. Fischer said on Dec. 5. “This legislation will ensure the Departments of Education and Interior hear directly from TCU leaders about their specific needs and how federal resources can address them.”

Sen. Fischer on Nov. 16 sponsored the National Advisory Council on Indian Education (NACIE) Improvement Act, S. 5104, with four original cosponsors, including U.S. Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Jerry Moran (R-KS).

“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,” said Sen. Fischer.

If enacted, S. 5104 would require at least one of NACIE’s members be the president of a TCU, and require the Secretaries of Education and Interior to consider NACIE’s annual report when preparing their budgets each year, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Fischer’s office.

The inclusion of TCU partners will help support the work of the NACIE, which is the U.S. Department of Education’s tribal advisory group that advises the Secretaries of Education and Interior on programs serving tribes and their members, and releases an annual report.

“Leaders of TCUs know the needs of their organizations, faculty and students better than anyone else,” added Sen. Rounds. “This commonsense bill will enable TCUs to have a voice for how to meet those needs, and it will improve the effectiveness of federal resources.”

S. 5104 is supported by the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, the Little Priest Tribal College, and the Nebraska Indian Community College.