Use gas, oil revenue to fund tuition waiver

Thanks to the Herald for its editorial support (Opinion, Herald, Dec. 15) in a federal law for the Native American tuition waiver at Fort Lewis College. President Dene Thomas and the FLC administration are to be commended for moving the bill this far along with a growing list of U.S. Representatives and senators sponsoring the law.

One issue that remains, however, is how to pay for it. A precedent for funding public higher education exists. In the 19th century, the sale of public lands was used to create land grant universities, such as Colorado State University and the University of Wisconsin. In the 21st century, no one would recommend selling public land.

But a parallel idea would be to use federal gas and oil revenues from leased energy lands to pay the $15 million annual cost of FLC’s Native American tuition waiver.

Thanks also to Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., for their important legislative initiative.

Andrew Gulliford


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