July 17, 2019

Grant program has tremendous potential - Daily Leader Extra : Editorials

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Grant program has tremendous potential

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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2019 3:11 pm

The 2018 U.S. Farm Bill has a provision for a new USDA program intended to help educate Native American students.

According to Marshall Matz, a Washington, D.C. lawyer specializing in agriculture, the new program will make competitive grants, on a matching basis, to land-grant colleges and universities that provide targeted support for tribal students. The land grants can use the funds under this program for recruiting, tuition, tutoring, counseling or other student services that would increase enrollment and retention at the university.

We're excited to hear about the program, called "New Beginning for Tribal Students," and are eager to see if it is successful.

Education and employment opportunities on Native American reservations are few and far between. Tribal students face a host of other challenges, including health and social problems.

South Dakota State University President Barry Dunn has championed the program, and hopes that an educated workforce will attract businesses and a private sector economy to the Reservations.

We believe SDSU is a logical institution to win the grants. One of the challenges of tribal students getting a higher education is the distance and social difference attending a school far away. Brookings is not far from a number of reservations, and the program can help with social adjustments.

The Farm Bill is still working its way through Congress, so the program isn't a sure thing. But we're hopeful it will be, and that it will lead to good things for tribal students.

-- Jon M. Hunter