Navajo Nation to Provide Housing Support to Navajo UNM Students

The agreement with UNM will provide college dormitory space for 118 Navajo students.

Published January 5, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE – On January 3, President signed off on an agreement with the University of New Mexico (UNM) to purchase the rights to occupancy of the Lobo Rainforest Building, a college dormitory space for 118 Navajo students.

“One of the primary reasons for the high college dropout rate for Native Americans is due to financial distress,” President Russell Begaye said. “With student housing owned by the Navajo Nation, we can alleviate some of this burden off our students and support them in reaching their full potential.”

In the agreement, the Regents of UNM grant the Navajo Nation the rights to occupy the entire fifth and sixth floors of the Lobo Rainforest Building. The agreement is for the term of three years and seven months starting on Jan. 1, 2018 and ending on Jul. 31, 2021. The agreement also states that the Nation bear the responsibility for determining student eligibility to occupy the Rainforest Building.

For the initial period of this agreement, the Nation will pay UNM the sum of $1,457,300 for occupancy of the fifth and sixth floors of the building. Prior to this assistance, students would rely on other means of financial assistance, including short term loans.

Vice President Nez said Native Americans have a higher college dropout rate than those from other populations due to a lack of financial support.

“With the purchase of the Lobo Rainforest Facility, not only will we see costs decrease for our college students’ housing, but we’ll create a sense of community to ultimately increase retention and decrease the college dropout rate,” Vice President Jonathan Nez said.

Lobo Rainforest Building is a college dormitory for students located in the Innovation District in Downtown Albuquerque.

“This agreement is a step toward addressing the success rate of our Navajo students who have chosen to pursue higher education,” President Begaye said. “The Begaye-Nez Administration is working with other area colleges to address housing needs to alleviate financial stress on our students.”

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