The Navajo Nation

Office of the President

     The Navajo Nation

Office of the President

President Buu Nygren urges Interior Secretary Haaland to expedite release of FY ’23 Higher Education Grant funds

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. — Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren issued a letter requesting U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland to expedite release of FY 2023 Higher Education Grant funds to the Navajo Nation so that the current scholarship award cycle can be completed.

President Nygren pointed out that even though President Joe Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act on Dec. 29, 2022, the Nation has yet to receive its share.

“The Navajo Nation cannot continue to award scholarships until federal funds are received,” he said. “Colleges and universities are already well into the Spring/Winter terms. For some Navajo students, the scholarships provided through the Higher Education Grant program determine whether they can continue their studies, as students with outstanding balances are forced to drop out.”

“Navajo students understand the importance of higher education, and many have overcome significant challenges to get to a college campus. Late scholarship awards impact them severely and deter them from continuing their studies,” he said.

He asked Secy. Haaland to ensure Higher Education Grant funds are released to tribes immediately.

The Office of Navajo Nation Scholarship & Financial Assistance administers the funding through a Public Law 93-638 contract with the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Scholarship office Director Rose Graham said more than $9.1 million has already been issued to 3,171 students for the same term. Approximately $2 million in awards for 786 students are on hold until federal funds become available.

A total of 8,737 applications were submitted for the 2023 Spring/Winter term, she said.

“Our office is acutely aware of the dilemma students face when scholarships and financial assistance awards are late,” she said. “Receipt of federal funds for Navajo students’ awards is common.”

The scholarship office is working to secure support for Congressional legislation to authorize forward funding of the Bureau of Indian Education Higher Education Grant Program which would make funds available on July 1 each year, she said.