Sen. Moran joins colleagues to introduce bill that would give tribal colleges and universities more input in federal funding

photo by: Conrad Swanson/Journal-World File Photo

A sign at the entrance to Haskell Indian Nations University is shown Friday, Aug. 5, 2016.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran joined a group of Senate colleagues this week in introducing a bill that, if passed, would give tribal colleges and universities like Lawrence’s Haskell Indian Nations University greater input over federal funding discussions that affect them.

Moran and four other senators — Republican Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Democrat Jon Tester of Montana, Republican Mike Rounds of South Dakota and Democrat Tina Smith of Minnesota — introduced the “National Advisory Council on Indian Education Improvement Act” Wednesday.

The act would require at least one member of the U.S. Department of Education’s Native American advisory group, the National Advisory Council on Indian Education, to be the president of a tribal college or university. It would also require the U.S. secretaries of education and the interior to consider that group’s annual report when preparing their budgets each year.

“When funding decisions are made in Washington, D.C., it’s important that tribal colleges have a seat at the table,” Moran said in a news release Wednesday. “Tribal universities, like Kansas’ own Haskell Indian Nations University, should have the opportunity to share specific needs and ideas that can better help direct federal resources to our tribal colleges.”

Moran’s release notes that the act addresses a couple of challenges facing the National Advisory Council on Indian Education. On top of lacking a process for considering the group’s report when developing the Department of Education’s budget requests, the department’s tribal consultation sessions often do not provide the opportunity for leaders at those institutions to provide direct input.

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