Paying for College on Stolen Land

Topic 1: Paying for College on Stolen Land

Overview and Goal of Lesson

In late 2020, Assemblywoman Natha C. Anderson, D-Sparks, along with a strong group of Indigenous community members introduced Assembly Bill 262, which waives Nevada state college tuition for Native tribal members living in Nevada. In June 2021, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed the bills into law. Across the United States, institutions and states are implementing policies and passing laws to improve college affordability for Indigenous students. While this practice gains momentum, there exists a need to develop a deeper understanding of how these policies are connected to larger higher education conversations. In this lesson, learners are introduced to the historical and contemporary connection between paying for college and Indigenous student experiences. Learners can also analyze how the enduring Indigenous presence within Southern Nevada provides valuable knowledge to inform equity, inclusion, and justice in higher education. This lesson could be used by individuals interested in learning about student financial aid, the history of higher education, and Indigenous student experiences. This lesson centers the question of:

How can college affordability, through tuition waivers, become more commonplace in higher education?

Keywords: Indigenous Students, Student Financial Aid, History

Scholarly Engagements

Nevada Context: College Pathways:

Discussion Questions

  • While tuition waivers are one step to improving college access for Indigenous students, what are other higher education policies and structures that need to be addressed for equity to be achieved?
  • How does the notion of “on stolen land” reshape your understanding of the history of higher education within Nevada and other regions?

Additional Resources:

Changing the Narrative - Student Loan Debt by Chris Nelson, Amanda Tachine, and J.D. Lopez

Native Presence and Sovereignty In College by Amanda Tachine

Beyond the Asterisk - Understanding Native Students In Higher Education by Heather J. Shotton, Shelly C. Lowe, and Stephanie J. Waterman