There are few in the world of higher education who aren’t holding their breath as Congress and state legislatures talk cuts, cuts, cuts. And tribal colleges are no exception.
The Missoulian’s Vince Devlin examines what massive funding shortages could do to Salish Kootenai College, on the Flathead Indian Reservation.
SKC, arguably the most successful tribal college in the nation, could face up to $1 million in cuts, which would mean laying off faculty, and see a steep decline in student assistance funds.
There’s been much talk about how proposed cuts at the federal and state levels will affect Montana’s university system, including its community colleges, SKC President Luana Ross says.
But she’s seen little discussion about the potential effects on Montana’s tribal colleges.
SKC is facing the loss of almost $500,000 in direct state and federal funds. If that happens, says Lon Whitaker, vice president of business affairs on the Pablo campus, the fallout – including higher tuition, which could lead to a drop in enrollment – could double the impact on the school, and take away job training and educational opportunities for people who need it most.
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“The way out of poverty is education,” SKC’s president says. “That’s almost a no-brainer.”