The University of California Native American Opportunity Plan aims to make college more affordable and accessible for California’s Native American students. It was developed as part of UC’s larger efforts to advance student diversity and inclusive excellence, said UC President Dr. Michael Drake. Native Americans are one of the most underrepresented groups within higher education.

“I am proud of the efforts the University of California has made to support the Native American community, including the creation of the UC Native American Opportunity Plan,” Drake wrote in a letter to UC’s chancellors. “I am hopeful that this new aid will benefit our students and continue to position the University of California as the institution of choice for Native American students.”

Effective fall 2022, UC will ensure that financial aid, as well as other resources, fully cover in-state systemwide tuition and student services fees for California residents who are members of federally recognized Native American, American Indian and Alaska Native tribes. Because of the legal status of these tribes, UC is able to directly administer scholarships and grants to their members. Tuition scholarships for California students from non-federally recognized tribes may also be available through external organizations.

The plan applies to both undergraduate and graduate students, said Shawn Brick, UC’s executive director of student financial support.

UC has one of the nation’s strongest financial aid programs and 55% of California undergraduates — including most of UC’s Native American students — receive enough aid to cover their full systemwide tuition and fees, he said.

The Native American Opportunity Plan will cover those who don’t already qualify for that level of aid. The program is being funded by a combination of existing and new financial aid funds.

“We hope that the number of students benefitting from the plan will grow in future years as more Native American students choose to apply to UC and accept our offers of admission,” Brick said.

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