AIHEC Celebrates National Tribal College Week on Capitol Hill

AIHEC Tribal Colleges Week 2023
TCU Presidents, staff, and students at last year's 2023 AIHEC Legislative Summit. Photo courtesy American Indian Higher Education Consortium

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) is celebrating National Tribal College Week with visits to U.S. legislative leaders who have Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) in their states.

Each year, AIHEC hosts their member TCUs with Capitol Hill visits for the opportunity to meet with their respective lawmakers face-to-face and share information about their college’s successes, challenges, and needs. In support of these efforts, Congress has declared the week of February 5th, 2024, as National Tribal College Week.

“Holding face-to-face meetings with the Senators and Representatives whose states are home to tribal colleges or universities is important,” said Ahniwake Rose, AIHEC Vice-President of Congressional and Federal Relations. “This gives our TCUs the opportunity to thank lawmakers for their support and let them know what they need in order to offer the best possible higher education to their students.”

Some of the areas of concern that the TCUs plan to address include pending 2024 budget cuts; equity in federal funding and resources in the land-grant system; appropriation requests; Farm Bill reauthorization priorities; and Higher Education Act reauthorization priorities.

“Our nation’s accredited TCUs strive to meet their students where they are and have made tremendous headway in the last 50 years,” said John Phillips, AIHEC Interim President and CEO. “These place-based, community institutions serve in some of the most remote and impoverished locations in the country and are a beacon of hope for many of their students. We want lawmakers to know that when our students succeed, our communities, states, and our nation succeed.”

The tribal delegation will also meet with Representatives from the Biden administration, attend a listening session with the Bureau of Indian Education on their strategic plan, and meet with U.S. Department of Agriculture leadership.