Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement | Education | National

DOI transfers another $12M from buy-back to scholarship fund

Elouise Cobell and Barack Obama
The late Elouise Cobell meets President Barack Obama at the White House. December 8, 2010. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

The Interior Department has transferred another $12 million from the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations into the Cobell scholarship fund.

The transfer is the largest to date since the program started in late 2012. The scholarship fund now holds more than $17 million.

“With every transfer to the scholarship fund, we are making valuable investments in the training and education that Native students need to succeed in today’s world,” Deputy Secretary Michael L. Connor said in a press release. “This program is a lasting tribute to Elouise Cobell, whose vision, leadership and concern for tribal students and their families has created a living legacy for future generations of tribal leaders.”

The scholarship fund is being administered by the American Indian Graduate Center in New Mexico. A five-member board is still working on the details of the program but applications should be available soon, said Turk Cobell, a son of the late Elouise Cobell who serves as president of the board.

The $3.4 billion Cobell trust fund settlement established a $1.9 billion land consolidation program. A portion of every sale goes into the scholarship fund.

The settlement allows for up to $60 million to be deposited from the program into the fund. The board intends to use the money in a way that will keep the scholarships going for a long time.

"This is meant to be a perpetual fund so that Indian students will be able to attend college and receive Cobell scholarship funds long after we’re gone," Alex Pearl, a member of the Chickasaw Nation who sits on the board, said in the press release. "The transfer that the Interior Department is making today will nearly triple the size of the scholarship fund precisely when the Board is in the process of deciding what funds can be made available for scholarships for the upcoming academic year beginning this fall."

Related Stories:
Board still working on delivering money for Cobell scholarships (3/25)
DOI puts nearly $1M from land sales into Cobell scholarship fund (01/06)
DOI puts another $1M from lands sales into Cobell scholarships (10/01)
David Gipp from UTTC joins Cobell scholarship board of trustees (08/13)
DOI puts another $2.9M from land sales into Cobell scholarships (07/01)
DOI makes transfer of nearly $580K into Cobell scholarship fund (4/2)
DOI announces two choices for Cobell scholarship board (1/15)

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