Non-Beneficiary Tribal College Funding Initiative

For the FY 06/07 Biennium

Discussion Item for the Board of Regents

 

Submitted by:

 

Joseph McDonald, Ed.D., President

Salish Kootenai College

P.O. Box 577

Pablo, Montana 59855

(406) 275-4959

 

December 19, 2003

 

Non-Beneficiary Resident Students

Attending Tribal Colleges in the State of Montana

 

Description: Provide state funding for Montana tribal colleges to help defray the costs of educating non-beneficiary Montana resident students, on an equal basis provided comparable sister institutions of the Montana University System. Biennial cost: Undetermined as of 12/19/03.  

 

Introduction and Background

 

Montana has seven tribal colleges located throughout the State on each Indian reservation.  Salish Kootenai College (SKC), established in 1977, is located on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Pablo.  These tribal colleges are subject to the accreditation standards and requirements of the Northwest Association of Colleges and Universities, which also accredits the various units of the Montana University System.  There are a total 36 tribal colleges throughout the United States.  Indians and non-Indians alike attend these institutions of higher education.

 

What is a non-beneficiary student?
 
Tribal colleges receive base operational funding from the federal government under the Tribally Controlled College and University Assistance Act (TCCUAA), first passed in 1978.  Funding is based solely on the number of full-time Indian students (equivalent of 36 credits per academic year) who are enrolled members of federally recognized tribes.  These are the students the TCCUAA is designed to “benefit.”  All other students attending tribal colleges who are not enrolled tribal members are referred to as “non-beneficiary students,” since they do not generate revenue under the TCCUAA or any other source.

 

Although Congress has long authorized up to $6,000 per full time Indian student per year under this law, the most it has ever appropriated is $4,220 per year, which is only 70% of the amount authorized.  This is significantly below the per student national average that state legislatures typically appropriate to defray the educational costs of community college students.  For this reason alone, tribal colleges begin the race for educational excellence far behind their mainstream counterparts.  

 

Tribal colleges fall further behind the starting line because most state governments do not provide financial support to help defray the educational costs incurred by non-beneficiary students who are state residents.  Tribal colleges, like SKC, are “open door” colleges that provide education for all students.  As a result, many tribal colleges have student bodies that consist of significant numbers of non-tribal members who do not generate any TCCUAA or other federal (or state) support to defray the costs of their education.  In effect, tribal colleges find themselves in the difficult position of having to subsidize the postsecondary education of non-beneficiary students, which can be a substantial amount.  Tribal colleges view the non-beneficiary funding question as an equity issue that puts them behind the starting line with respect to their state-supported counterparts. 

 

Non-beneficiary Students Attending Salish Kootenai College

 

With respect to Salish Kootenai College, the non-Indian population outnumbers the Indian population on the Flathead Reservation by a ratio of more than 3:1.  Naturally, a large number of non-tribal members attend SKC each year.  As shown in Table 1, SKC student enrollment data maintained by the Registrar’s computerized database (Jenzabar EX) indicates that the official headcount of non-beneficiary Montana resident students attending Salish Kootenai College averaged 275 students per year, or 26% of the SKC student body for the five-year period 1998-2002.  As shown in Table 2, non-beneficiary Montana resident students generated an average of 9,493 student credit hours (SCH) each year during the three academic years 2000-03, which constituted 26% of SKC student credit hours generated during this period.  Based on 45 quarter credits per year, this SCH generation equates to 211 full-time equivalent students per year (FTE).

 

This headcount data is reported as part of the IPEDS system.  However, it is important to note that the IPEDS category of  “American Indian” and “Alaska Native” is determined on the basis of student self-identification.  This results in an IPEDS count that includes enrolled members of federally recognized tribes, as well as students who claim tribal heritage but are not enrolled tribal members.  In short, the IPEDS count under “American Indian” and “Alaska Native” includes both “beneficiaries” and “non-beneficiaries.”  IPEDS data is accordingly misleading as to the non-beneficiary issue.  Therefore, obtaining an accurate count of non-beneficiaries requires, in part, identifying the number of enrolled tribal members (beneficiaries) and non-beneficiaries lumped together under the IPEDS category of “American Indian” or “Alaska Native.”  The SKC headcount data presented herein makes these critical numerical distinctions.

 

Costs Incurred by SKC to Educate Non-Beneficiary Resident Students

 

As noted, non-beneficiary Montana resident students attending SKC averaged 26% of the student headcount for the five-year period 1998-2002, and generated an average of 26% of all student credit hours earned during the three-year period 2000-03.  Figured either way, 26% of SKC’s annual costs are properly attributable to non-beneficiary Montana resident students.  These costs continue to have a huge impact on SKC’s budget, which is stretched thin since the College receives little or no government support to offset these costs. 

 

The budgetary impact of providing a postsecondary education for non-beneficiary Montana resident students can be determined fairly by attributing 26% of institutional costs to non-beneficiary students.  Presented below are FY 2002 expenditures that SKC made in the primary budget categories, by total amount per each category, and by 26% of the total amount of each category, fairly attributable to non-beneficiary educational costs.

 

SKC Selected Current Fund Expenditures (FY ’02)

 

Category                                  Amount                   Non-beneficiary allocation @ 26%

 

Instruction                             $5,544,221                                $1,441,497

Academic Support                      657,461                                    170,940

Library                                       360,758                                      93,797

Student Services                        860,974                                     223,853

Instructional Support                1,991,296                                     517,737

Physical Plant O&M                   682,111                                     177,349

TOTAL                                $10,096,821                                $2,625,173

Source: SKC IPEDS Report, 2002, Current Fund Expenditures

 

This expenditure of $2,625,173 is offset by tuition and fees paid by non-beneficiary Montana resident students, which totaled $3,931.50 per student based on a 12-18 credit quarterly load during 2002-03.  Based on 211 FTE, non-beneficiary Montana resident students generated $829,547 in tuition and fee revenue during the 2002-03 academic year.  This leaves a difference of $1,795,626, which amounts to a subsidy that SKC provided to educate Montana residents for one year.  This is a tremendous burden for a small college to shoulder.

 

Benefits Derived by Non-Beneficiary Students Attending SKC

 

Salish Kootenai College provides a quality education for all students, including non-beneficiary Montana residents.  The following indicators provide a snapshot of these benefits:

 

·         During the three-year period 2000-03, SKC conferred 186 certificates, and associate or bachelor’s degrees upon non-beneficiary Montana resident students, representing 41% of the certificates or degrees awarded during this period.  These numbers included:

 

k        43 associate of science degrees in Nursing

k        7 bachelor’s degrees in Nursing

k        7 associate degrees or certificates in Dental Assisting Technology

k        10 associate degrees in Computer Science

k        3 bachelor’s degrees in Business Management

k        11 associate degrees in Human Services

 

·         During the five-year period 1998-2002, SKC conferred 246 pre-baccalaureate certificates or associate degrees upon non-beneficiary Montana resident students who graduated from 17 programs.  Of these graduates, 207 were placed in jobs or matriculated to advanced training, for a combined placement rate of 84%.

 

·         Of these pre-baccalaureate graduates in the labor market pool, 138 were placed in jobs, for an actual job placement rate of 77%.   

 

Why the State of Montana Should Fund Tribal Colleges

to Help Educate Montana Residents

 

Since tribal colleges are not reimbursed by any governmental or other entity for educating Montana resident students who are not tribal members, educating non-beneficiaries imposes an additional heavy burden on these already under funded institutions of higher education.  This amounts to a benefit for the State of Montana.  The State should regularly and fairly fund Montana tribal colleges on par with comparable sister institutions of the Montana University System for at least the following reasons:

 

·         Montana resident non-beneficiary students are citizens of the State

·         Non-beneficiaries are state taxpayers, including income and property taxes

·         Higher education and job placement results in significant contributions to the local and state economies

·         Higher education decreases dependency on government programs and a reduction of the social ills accompanying low education and occupation levels

·         Through the multiplier effect, dollars earned by non-beneficiaries will turn over 5-7 times before they leave the community

·         Funding tribal colleges to help defray the costs of educating Montana resident non-beneficiaries is not a handout; rather it would help eliminate the heavy burden shouldered by these small colleges which are essentially subsidizing the education of Montana residents in the absence of state or federal government assistance.

 

Table 1

Salish Kootenai College

Headcount of Students by Beneficiary and

Non-Beneficiary Resident and Non-Resident Status

Fall Quarters, 1998-2002

 

Fall 1998

 

 

Fall 1999

 

Fall 2000

 

Fall 2001

 

Fall 2002

 

5 Yr.

 

 

#

%

#

%

#

%

#

%

#

%

#

%

Enrolled Tribal Members

666

71

852

74

767

73

748

72

772

76

3,805

72

Non-Tribal MT Residents

243

26

277

24

269

26

271

26

314

28

1,374

26

Non Residents

28

3

19

2

8

1

15

2

21

2

91

2

Totals

937

100

1,148

100

1,044

100

1,034

100

1,107

100

5,270

100

 

Table 2

Salish Kootenai College

Student Credit Hours Generated by Beneficiary

and Non-Beneficiary Resident and Non-Resident Status

Academic Years 2000-03

 

2000-01

 

2001-02

 

2002-03

 

Totals

 

 

#

%

#

%

#

%

#

%

Enrolled Tribal Members

27,484

75

25,415

72

24,691

69

77,590

72

Non-Tribal MT Residents

8,504

23

9,342

26

10,552

29

28,478

26

Non Residents

735

2

709

2

719

2

2,163

2

Totals

36,803

100

35,466

100

35,962

100

108,231

100