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UND spent nearly $10 million on programs and financial aid for American Indian students during the last fiscal year, according to a report from the school's budget office.

Those funds were an increase from the $8.5 million UND paid out the previous year. But while UND President Charles Kupchella says it's a good sign of support for American Indian students, he admits that much of the money came from sources outside of UND.

One challenge, Kupchella said in a university release Tuesday, is to find new partners and thereby be less reliant on federal agencies, which now provide about 80 percent of UND's funding in this area.

Kupchella vowed to continue efforts to grow support for American Indian students and programs at UND, referring to his recently unveiled five-year Strategic Plan, which calls for the university to become the nation's leading institution for American Indian People.

Kupchella said last year's Indian-related expenditures were made possible because of 109 different sources - many of them federal agencies - but also included state, tribal governments and foundations. As a point of reference, the budget office report indicated that UND's expenditures, from all sources in 2000-2001, was a little more than $200 million


About $5.5 million of this year's Indian-related support came to UND in the form of financial aid to students. But about 65 percent of that support showed up in grants supplied by various Indian tribal governments and the also the Indian Health Service, the report showed.

The remaining financial aid was referred to in the report as internally-sourced funds, but the largest chunk of that came from federal aid programs aimed at low income students regardless of ethnicity. Tuition waivers for Indian students totaling more than $320,000 made up another portion of the internal aid.

Out of the $10 million in Indian-related expenditures at UND, about $4.2 million of it covered the operation of 25 American Indian-related programs, including the Department of Indian Studies and the Indians into Medicine Program.

Could be more

About $3.3 million of the money earmarked for Indian programming was given to UND in federal and private grants. The school received another $350,000 to help offset indirect costs associated with those programs, the report indicated.

State-appropriated funds comprised about $500,000 of UND's total Indian-related expenditures. The state's contribution equated to only about 5 percent of those expenditures during the last fiscal year. Local funds came in even less at about $52,000, the report showed.

Last year, the report stated, 420 students identified themselves as American Indians or Alaska Natives under the federal government's definition. But the report goes on to say that it is believed a substantial number of UND students who could qualify as American Indians under federal definitions have chosen not to do so, suggesting that the school's Indian-related expenditures could have been even higher.

Source: Grand Forks Herald, September 26, 2001