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Interview with Melvin Monette about Cobell scholarship program






Cobell scholarship recipients include April Davis, the first person in her family to attend college, and K. Sanderson, who works full-time as a fire captain while pursuing his studies. Photos form Cobell Scholarship Fund

Indian Country Today interviews Melvin Monette (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians) of Indigenous Education about the Cobell scholarship fund. Indigenous Education, a non-profit based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was recently selected to administer the program, which was created by the settlement to the Indian trust fund lawsuit:
Indigenous Education, Inc. was founded specifically to administer the Cobell Scholarship Program in the interests of reducing administration costs by 50 percent and using the savings to fund additional scholarships. How will administration costs be lower?
We’re new, we’re smaller, and we’re specifically concentrating on one scholarship program, which reduces the cost.

How many scholarships have been awarded so far?
We just completed funding for summer school 2016, and we made 140 offers. We make offers to students and they have until June 1 to accept or decline them. For summer school we spent a little over $350,000. The scholarships vary by level and need so we don’t have a standard award amount. We try to fund the individual [based on his needs].

Why would someone decline an offer?
They may have thought they were going to summer school and chose not to, they may not be attending full time, they may have received other funds, because our funds cannot exceed their cost of attendance, or for a variety of other reasons.

When will the second round of scholarships be available?
In February we opened applications for fall 2016 to spring 2017. That closes June 1. Currently we have 1,700 active applications for that pool, but we’ve had over 3,500 people visit our website to make inquiries or to create a profile. For the 2016-2017 academic year we will be awarding $2 million, with an anticipated additional amount for summer.

Get the Story:
First Round of Cobell Scholarships (Almost) on the Way (Indian Country Today 5/23)

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