Special session planned, students may get boost


Scholarship funds available to Navajo students should get a boost of nearly 8 percent, if a bill to add $1.6 million to the Office of Navajo Nation Scholarship and Financial Assistance budget makes it through the Navajo Nation Council.

If it passes, the bill (No. 0445-17) would approve supplemental funding from the Unreserved, Undesignated Fund Balance. Legislation sponsor Jonathan Hale (Oak Springs/St. Michaels) explained the Council is planning on evaluating all the UUFB requests during a special session the first or second week of February. According to a statement from the Council, ONNSFA reported using $20.4 million to fund 6,486 students out of 12,887 that applied for funding in 2017. With 6,401 turned away, only 51 percent of applicants received funding.

ONNSFA spokesperson Carolyn Calvin said the additional $1.6 million would have a big impact.

“It would fund an additional 891 awards, and the average award we have been providing to students is $2,318,” she said.

According to the Calvin, $150,000 could fund 30 full-time graduate students; $49,500 could fund 33 part-time graduate students; and $200,250 could fund 267 part-time undergraduate students just in the spring semester of 2018.

By the fall semester, the $1.6 million would have funded education for another 560 students, according to the numbers crunched by ONNSFA.

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Categories: Education

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Christopher S. Pineo

Reporter Christopher S. Pineo's beats include education, construction, the executive branch, and pop culture. He also administers the Navajo Times Facebook page. In the diverse neighborhoods of Boston, Pineo worked, earned a master’s in journalism, and gained 10 years of newspaper experience. He can be reached at Chrisp@navajotimes.com.