Students that are members of one of the country’s 574 federally recognized tribal nations can go to Oregon State University paying in-state tuition rates. (File photo by Oregon State University)

Students that are members of one of the country’s 574 federally recognized tribal nations can go to Oregon State University paying in-state tuition rates — a significant savings for those individuals.

The new rates, which cover all for-credit courses, go into effect beginning with the fall term. Along with new students, those currently enrolled are also eligible.

Oregon State University was established under the Morrill Land Grant College Act of 1862. The Morrill Act resulted in the seizure of nearly 11 million acres belonging to 250 sovereign tribal nations with little or no compensation.

“Tribal citizens from throughout Oregon and the country represent multiple sovereign nations and are valued, contributing members of the OSU community,” Becky Johnson, OSU’s interim president said through a news release. “This new tuition policy advances our commitment – in the spirit of self-reflection, learning, reconciliation and partnership – that the university will be of enduring benefit to Tribal nations and their citizens throughout Oregon and the country.”

In 1868, the Oregon Legislature designated Corvallis College as the state’s land grant institution. Soon after, the state received 90,000 acres of federal lands — taken from the Klamath, Coos, Lower Umpqua, Siuslaw and Coquille people — to be sold to create an endowment supporting the growth of what is now known as Oregon State University.

“OSU acknowledges the impacts the Morrill Act has had on Tribal nations in Oregon and throughout the United States,” Johnson said.

In addition, students who are enrolled members of the Nine Tribes of Oregon — which includes The Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians — may also be eligible for the new Oregon Tribal Student Grant Program, which provides assistance up to the cost of attendance at public and private nonprofit colleges and universities in the state.

OSU’s Corvallis campus is within the traditional homelands of the Marys River or Ampinefu Band of Kalapuya. Following the Willamette Valley Treaty of 1855, Kalapuya people were forcibly removed to reservations in western Oregon. Their living descendants are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon and the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians.

This sounds like a great program for those students. Out-of-state tuition for an average class load of 15 credits per term runs at nearly $35,000. In comparison, the estimated cost for in-state tuition runs just over $13,000.

(Brad Fuqua is publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He can be reached at News@PhilomathNews.com).

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.