Bill to Give American Indians In-State Tuition Gains Bipartisan Support in Colorado

Colorado state capitolDENVER – In-state tuition to American Indians with historic ties to the state of Colorado is one step closer after the Democratic state Representative Joe Salazar’s bipartisan bill to was assigned to the Education Committee on Thursday, January 16, 2014.

“There are incredibly low numbers of American Indian students enrolled in higher education institutions across the state,” Rep. Salazar said. “We know the American Indian community faces severe economic hardships and this bill will give them a much better chance of attaining higher education.”

Currently the bill applies to forty eight different tribes, all of which have historic ties to Colorado, but were relocated to Wyoming and other states. Currently 27 percent of American Indian households are living below the federally recognized poverty level, according to recent data from the US Census Bureau.

Rep. Joe Salazar (D)

Rep. Joe Salazar (D)

“Many of these young people could be contributing to our state’s economy and aren’t,” Salazar said. “I’m happy that a bipartisan group of my colleagues agree that this will attract talented students to Colorado’s higher education institutions and address the economic hardships that are being experienced by American Indian families.”

Representative Salazar is a Colorado native whose Spanish and indigenous roots in Colorado and New Mexico go back hundreds of years. Prior to being elected to the state assembly, he was a civil rights and criminal investigator for the State of Colorado, working for the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies in the civil rights division and division of insurance.

Colorado’s 65-member House of Representatives includes 37 Democrats dedicated to a strong state economy and a quality education for every Colorado child.

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