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UW-Madison will cover medical school tuition, fees for tribal members

December 19, 2023 10:17 AM | Anonymous

From Wisconsin Health News:

The University of Wisconsin–Madison said Monday it will cover in-state tuition and fees for members of Wisconsin tribes pursuing medical degrees, as part of a five-year pilot program starting next fall. 

The program will cover the costs for students pursuing a medical or law degree who are Wisconsin residents and enrolled members of federally recognized Wisconsin tribes. It’s part of a larger effort where UW will cover the full costs of pursuing undergraduate degrees for members of Wisconsin tribes. 

The Wisconsin Tribal Educational Promise program doesn’t rely on taxpayer funding, and support will come from other institutional resources, like private donations. It’ll award financial support regardless of family income, and cover students already on campus when it starts next year.

Tuition and fees for medical degree students total $42,198 annually. The program will cover four years of medical education. 

University leaders met with the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, a consortium that includes the tribal chairperson or president for each of Wisconsin’s 11 federally recognized American Indian tribes, when developing the program. 

Shannon Holsey, the council's chairwoman and president of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians, said in a statement they’re not aware of another effort that “goes this far financially to help Native students afford higher education.”

“It is our hope that more Native students will take a second look at UW–Madison and realize that we are not out of reach,” Carla Vigue, UW–Madison director of tribal relations, said in a statement. “And I want Native students to know that, once here, we have support and services that can help them thrive and feel a real sense of belonging."

Across UW–Madison, 649 students identified as American Indian or Alaska Native out of 50,633 enrolled this academic year. Thirty-four are medical students.

The information is self-reported and most do not identify their tribal affiliation. UW–Madison does not yet have a way of knowing the exact number of Wisconsin students who are members of the federally recognized tribes in the state, according to a spokesman for the university's medical school. 

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