Archive for Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Haskell focuses on bottom line

Regents to seek financial contributions during Tribal Leaders Summit

May 10, 2006


Over the next two days, Haskell Indian Nations University officials are expected to unveil the university's plan for coping with budgets that for several years have not kept pace with inflation.

The plan may - no one knows for sure - include another increase in student fees.

Haskell president Karen Swisher will review the university's options today during a meeting of the school's Board of Regents.

On Thursday, the regents will convene a daylong Tribal Leaders Summit aimed at gauging the willingness of several tribes to offset declines in federal support.

"We sent invitations to about 25 tribal leaders from all over the country," said Haskell spokeswoman Lori Tapahonso. "We're very excited."

Earlier this year, Haskell officials revealed:

¢ The utilities budget wouldn't cover a $240,000 spike in natural gas costs.

¢ The operational budget - faculty and staff salaries, primarily - had been cut $238,000.

More about the university

¢ The maintenance department's $4.1 million budget had taken a $600,000 cut, setting the stage for employee layoffs for the summer.

Haskell's budget is set by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, an agency within the U.S. Department of Interior.

Earlier this year, several federal agencies saw their budgets cut 1.5 percent across the board in an effort to offset the costs of Hurricane Katrina, the war in Iraq and tax cuts. The bureau passed its cut on to Haskell.

"Basically, what happened to Haskell is what happened to every other federal agency," said bureau spokeswoman Nedra Darling. "They've taken cuts that were congressionally mandated."

In recent months, some of the Haskell cuts have been restored and few, if any, maintenance workers are now likely to be laid off. And last year's fee increase appears to have offset most of the cuts in faculty salaries.

Still, the university's budget is, at best, break-even at a time when enrollment demands are increasing.

"There's a frustration on campus, you can see it," said George Tiger, a Haskell regent from Bristow, Okla. "Some of it's tied to what we're dealing with now, and some of it's tied to a frustration that's been going on for decades."

The federal government, he said, is content to let American Indian colleges and universities wither on the vine.

"Haskell has to fight for everything it gets," he said.

It's clear, he said, the university needs to broaden its financial base to ensure its future.

"As it is now, we are at the mercy of the federal government," he said. "But we're in a position where we, as the Haskell community, can look to people who went to Haskell and who are now tribal leaders to assist the school in terms of funding."

Most of the tribal leaders invited to the summit are Haskell alumni. Other summits may follow.

Also, Tiger said many regents had encountered alumni who have fond memories of their days at Haskell and who assume that "things are still good, that the federal government it still taking care of Haskell."

He added, "That perception needs to change."


Kelly Powell 11 years, 10 months ago

Do what a lot of states do....use gambling to pay for education.....Oh wait, the profits from the casinos are going into the pockets of a select few. there is no way I could crunch the numbers, but I would bet if every tribal owned casino kicked back 1/10th a percent of profit They could fund haskell and probably two other naitive universities(how many are there anyway? If just haskell, then this whole thing is a farce.)

cowboy 11 years, 10 months ago

Interesting question , are there other universities in the equation at all ?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 10 months ago

Perhaps there is casino money that should find its way to better supplementing Haskell's budget, but the fact still remains that Haskell is one of the obligations the US government made to Native Americans in exchange for giving up there lands. A deal is a deal (but the history of deals between European Americans and Native Americans shows clearly how backwards the expression "indian-giver" is.)

Confrontation 11 years, 10 months ago

Here's a roster of all the tribal colleges. The financial page says that a majority of their funding comes from the feds.

Mike Blur 11 years, 10 months ago

Thank you Bozo for countering the incorrect and invalid opinion held by Kelly Powell and other misinformed Americans. The federal gov'ment is willing to let that opinion fester, and be released of their obligations. If the federal government settled up on all its current obligations to American Indians, then tribal colleges would have enough money to run for years and years.

(Kelly Powell--the amount of outstanding debt--tens of billions of dollars--owed by the federal government to American Indian tribes for treaties broken and dishonored dwarfs all income derived by all tribal casinos since the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed.)

Kelly Powell 11 years, 10 months ago

Mr. Bur, Where did I say the goverment should not pay for the college? I IMPLIED that if they are actually worried about the future and education of their people, they have a wonderful opportunity to show the federal goverment that they do not need them.....If the federal goverment has screwed you in the past, what makes you think they will not do it again? I was also pointing out the opinions of many naitive americans(or at least the ones bitchin to me) that they do not see any improvement of their situation but have seen quite a few political movers and shakers in the nations line their pockets with both casino and federal dollars. I also flat out said the states was using gambling to offset the lack of federal funds.But since all of this is invalid and incorrect, who cares?

cowboy 11 years, 10 months ago

Haskell Semester fees are all of $210 for housing , tuition , food , and books. Thats a pretty dang good deal. i have to pay 6600 a semester for my daughter at that purple place down the road.

If Haskell is strapped why dont they up the fees and then get all these kids qualified for financial aid or are they stopped by the gov for some reason ?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 10 months ago

Or why not just have the federal government fulfill its obligations, so Haskell doesn't have to raise fees on kids who likely don't have the funding available, anyway? After all, that's where the "financial aid" is supposed to come from.

cowboy 11 years, 10 months ago

Bozo , if you increase the fees that are offset by financial aid , i.e. pell grants , no interest loans like all the other poor kids get , Haskell is the benefactor and the kids are no worse for wear . 800 students times 4000 in fin aid is a cool 3.2 million. But there is probably a federal catch that prohibits it like duplicated funding. Haskells web site says thier actual costs are somewhere in the 4000 a semester range. At any rate getting education and board for 210 a semester is awesome , thats if the education is worth anything.

Mike Ford 11 years, 10 months ago

Since the passage of the civilization act of 1819, federally-recognized tribes have ceded away millions of acres of land to "Immigrants" for amongst other things, the education of their children. The money to pay for this education in return for the taking of land by the federal government and has been sliced and twisted to the point that at times, the promise of education in return for the cession of land has been twisted into a welfare payment, while the first recipients of welfare off the Mayflower claim that they don't owe anymore for what they killed, stole and took. Who gave them the right to decide when the debt for the taking of land was rectified? It never has been. It's been "thought" away by the masses in their usual state of convenient denial. Quit funding the death of poor soldiers fighting a rich man's fight, and start paying for what was taken in the name of Christianity.

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