University of Tennessee to Offer
In-State Tuition to North Carolina-Based Tribe
The University of Tennessee is working on an agreement to allow members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to pay in-state tuition to attend the school.
UT is about 80 miles from the Qualla Boundary, the tribe’s lands in western North Carolina — far closer than any comparably sized school in North Carolina. The school charges $5,290 a year for in-state tuition, while out-of-state tuition is $16,360.
The lower tuition will be given in trade for Eastern Band archaeological services, says Russell Townsend, who works for the tribe’s historic preservation office and often collaborates with the university.
“There’s been a handshake on it,” he says.
Similar agreements are already in place in the university system, says Thomas J. Milligan, UT associate vice chancellor for communications and marketing. The tribe plans to seek similar arrangements with other Tennessee state schools, as well as public universities in Georgia and South Carolina.
The Eastern Band tribe has 652 members attending postsecondary institutions, eight of whom are enrolled at UT, says Juanita Wilson, the tribe’s deputy administrative officer.
The tribe helps pay tuition and other expenses, usually covering the entire amount for in-state tuition, but paying only a portion for students who attend a private university or one that is out of state.
The agreement will probably not be final in time for the spring semester, according to Townsend and Milligan.
About 7,500 of the Eastern Band’s 13,300 members live on the tribe’s 58,000-square-mile property in western North Carolina.
— Associated Press
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