EAST LANSING, Mich., Aug. 26, 2016 – The U.S. Department ofAgriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Lisa Mensah has announced funding to help eight tribal colleges upgrade their infrastructure, purchase equipment and make other improvements to their educational facilities. Funding is provided through USDA’s Tribal College Initiative Grant program. Mensah made the announcement while visiting Northwest Indian College in Whatcom County.
“Education is one of the best investments we can make in the future of rural America,” Mensah said. “Tribal colleges are key resources for their communities and regions. Over the last seven years, USDA has worked closely with tribal leaders to support locally-driven solutions to improve economic opportunities in tribal areas by increasing access to education, health care, broadband and business development.”
The awards announced are contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.
- Bay Mills Community College, $143,000: To make campus improvements.
- Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College, $143,000: To purchase early learning and business equipment.
- Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College, $143,000: To buy new furniture, fixtures and equipment for the library; and to upgrade classroom technology.
The Tribal College Initiative Grant program is an important source of funding for higher education in Native American communities. USDA Rural Development has awarded Bay Mills Community College eight grants totaling over $1.3 million since 2009. The projects included improvements at the campus health & fitness center, the EMT training center, the early childhood education lab, the cultural center and the administration building.
USDA has significantly expanded its support for Tribes and tribal communities since 2009, providing $3.1 billion in Rural Development programs and services. USDA has provided more than $553.5 million in loans, loan guarantees and grants to build or upgrade more than 300 tribal facilities, and $55 million in loans to support Native-owned businesses and promote economic development in tribal areas.
Since 2009, USDA Rural Development (@USDARD) has invested nearly $13 billion to start or expand nearly 112,000 rural businesses; helped 1.1 million rural residents buy homes; funded nearly 9,200 community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care facilities; and helped bring high-speed Internet access to nearly 6 million rural residents and businesses. USDA also has invested $31.3 billion in 963 electric projects that have financed more than 185,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines serving 4.6 million rural residents. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/results.