Some Native American tribes have negotiated college tuition waivers as part of the land-grant agreements between the federal government and tribes. Because of those agreements, states are required to cover the full cost of the tuition reimbursements with no assistance from the federal government.

ADVERTISEMENT
“The question before us today is not whether or not the tuition waiver programs should continue,” Bennet said Wednesday. “The waivers clearly should continue and all of us engaged in this issue are deeply committed to that. The question we face is how we can equitably share the responsibilities for these programs to ensure they thrive and that educational opportunities for Native American youth can continue to grow.”

Bennet said Colorado alone has spent more than $110 million for the tuition waiver program in the past 25 years, burdening states experiencing tough budgetary times.

Bennet introduced the Native American Education Act on Aug. 2, before the recess started. S. 3504 would require the U.S. Department of Education to cover the costs of tuition waivers for any out-of-state students, while states would continue to pay for any in-state tuition waivers.

Bennet said his bill would alleviate the burden on the education budget for each state.

Democratic Sens. Daniel Akaka (Hawaii), Mark BegichMark Peter BegichPerez creates advisory team for DNC transition The future of the Arctic 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map MORE (Alaska), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenShould the Rob Porter outcome set the standard? Grassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees Sen. Gillibrand, eyeing 2020 bid, rankles some Democrats MORE (Minn.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharOvernight Health Care: Trump eases rules on insurance outside ObamaCare | HHS office on religious rights gets 300 complaints in a month | GOP chair eyes opioid bill vote by Memorial Day Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand Dems seek reversal of nursing home regulatory rollback MORE (Minn.) and Mark UdallMark Emery UdallDemocratic primary could upend bid for Colorado seat Picking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups Gorsuch's critics, running out of arguments, falsely scream 'sexist' MORE (Colo.) are co-sponsors of the legislation.