S 484

112th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 484

To direct the Secretary of Education to pay to Fort Lewis College in the State of Colorado an amount equal to the tuition charges for Indian students who are not residents of the State of Colorado.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 3, 2011

Mr. BENNET (for himself and Mr. UDALL of Colorado) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions


A BILL

To direct the Secretary of Education to pay to Fort Lewis College in the State of Colorado an amount equal to the tuition charges for Indian students who are not residents of the State of Colorado.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. PURPOSE.

    It is the purpose of this Act to ensure that Federal funding is provided to support and sustain the longstanding Federal mandate requiring Fort Lewis College in the State of Colorado to waive tuition charges for each Indian student it admits to an undergraduate program, including the waiver of tuition charges for Indian students who are not residents of the State of Colorado.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds that--

      (1) Fort Lewis College in the State of Colorado is a signature school for Indian students from throughout the Nation and graduates more Indian students than any other baccalaureate institution of higher education;

      (2) in 2009, Fort Lewis College awarded 95 degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to Indian students, representing 13.5 percent of degrees awarded by baccalaureate institutions of higher education to Indian students, more degrees than any other comparable baccalaureate institution in the Nation;

      (3) as of the 2010-11 academic year, Fort Lewis College provides federally mandated tuition-free education to approximately 786 Indian students from 124 different Indian tribes and 34 different States, representing approximately 20 percent of the overall student population at this non-tribal institution of higher education that serves Indian students;

      (4) the Federal mandate to provide tuition-free education to Indian students was first placed upon the State of Colorado under section 5 of the Act of April 4, 1910 (36 Stat. 273, chapter 140), as a condition of the transfer of the land, buildings, and fixtures comprising Fort Lewis School, which had been federally operated;

      (5) the amount of funds expended by the State of Colorado to meet the waiver of tuition obligations under section 5 of the Act of April 4, 1910 (36 Stat. 273, chapter 140), for all Indian students, both out-of-State and in-State, far exceeds the value of the land, buildings, and fixtures that the State of Colorado holds for the benefit of Fort Lewis College;

      (6) the State of Colorado has expended more than $110,000,000 in the past 25 years to meet the costs of the tuition waivers for Indian students at Fort Lewis College from 44 different States; and

      (7) the federally mandated tuition waiver program for Indian students at Fort Lewis College is at risk of being reduced by the severe budget constraints of the State of Colorado, thereby jeopardizing the education of many talented Indian students from around the Nation, in present and future classes.

SEC. 3. STATE RELIEF FROM FEDERAL MANDATE.

    (a) Amount of Payment-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Subject to paragraph (2), for fiscal year 2011 and each succeeding fiscal year, the Secretary of Education shall pay to Fort Lewis College in the State of Colorado an amount equal to the charges for tuition for all Indian students who are not residents of the State of Colorado and who are enrolled in Fort Lewis College for the academic year ending before the beginning of such fiscal year.

      (2) LIMITATION- The amount paid to Fort Lewis College for each fiscal year under paragraph (1) may not exceed the amount equal to the charges for tuition for all Indian students who were not residents of the State of Colorado and who were enrolled in Fort Lewis College for academic year 2010-2011.

    (b) Treatment of Payment- Any amounts received under this section shall be treated as a reimbursement from the State of Colorado to Fort Lewis College for complying with the requirement of section 5 of the Act of April 4, 1910 (36 Stat. 273, chapter 140), to admit Indian students free of charge of tuition.

    (c) Rule of Construction- Nothing in this Act shall be construed to relieve the State of Colorado from reimbursing, for purposes of complying with the requirements of section 5 of the Act of April 4, 1910 (36 Stat. 273, chapter 140), Fort Lewis College for each academic year--

      (1) with respect to Indian students who are not residents of the State of Colorado and who are enrolled in Fort Lewis College, any amount of charges for tuition for such students that exceeds the amount received under this section for such academic year; and

      (2) with respect to Indian students who are residents of the State of Colorado and who are enrolled in Fort Lewis College, an amount equal to the charges for tuition for such students for such academic year.

    (d) Definition- In this section, the term `Indian students' refers to the term `Indian pupils' in section 5 of the Act of April 4, 1910 (36 Stat. 269, chapter 140).

    (e) Funding- There are authorized to be appropriated, and there are appropriated (in addition to any other amounts appropriated to carry out this section and out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated), such sums as may be necessary to carry out this section.

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