CEDAR CITY, Utah (ABC4) — Southern Utah University is waiving tuition fees for members of Utah’s eight federally recognized tribes for up to eight semesters starting in spring 2023.

In a press release, SUU officials announced that the university is giving Native American students an opportunity to obtain a tuition waiver through the Utah Native American Tuition Gap Award.

As of October 2022, 450 Native American students had been admitted to SUU but only 84 of them were currently enrolled. The award seeks to bridge any existing financial barriers between students and higher education.

“This award is an important way to put investment behind our goal of serving our local and surrounding indigenous community who we know face barriers to start and to finish their education,” said Daneka Souberbielle, chief diversity officer at SUU. “Even though this may not address all of the financial barriers our Native American students face, it’s a critical starting point for us to be intentional about our commitment to support current and potential indigenous students.”

Students must meet the following criteria to be eligible to receive the award:

  • Must be an admitted SUU student.
  • Must be a Utah resident or a non-resident student who qualifies for resident tuition.
  • Must be enrolled full-time (12+ units) in a degree-seeking program.
  • Must be an enrolled member of one of the federally recognized Utah tribes or any federal tribe and a graduate from a Utah high school and eligible for in-state tuition.
  • Must have a current completed FAFSA on file at SUU by the first day of classes each semester receiving the award. If a student is selected for verification, verification must be completed before funds are disbursed to the student’s account.
  • This award will be renewable for up to eight semesters. In order to renew, students must continue to make satisfactory academic progress toward degree completion.

“We are thrilled to offer this tuition waiver to current and future Native American students,” said SUU President Mindy Benson. “We want our students to experience the transformative power of higher education and pursue their degrees at SUU without financial barriers. I appreciate the collaboration with SUU’s current indigenous students and dedicated staff who assisted in the development of this opportunity and continue to create meaningful relationships and partnerships with Native communities.”

Utah’s eight federally recognized tribes include:

  • Confederated Tribes of Goshute
  • Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah
  • San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe
  • Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation
  • Skull Valley Band of Goshute
  • Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation
  • Ute Mountain Ute Tribe
  • White Mesa Community
  • Navajo Nation

For more information, visit SUU’s Financial Aid and Scholarships Office.