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College budget cut indicates "they don't care"
3 February 2004

BISMARCK, ND - United Tribes Technical College has no intention of taking the Bush Administration funding cuts lying down. College President David M. Gipp says, "the opportunities for students will not end - they're just beginning."

      For the third year in a row, the administration's budget, released yesterday, recommends no funding for the college in FY 2005, which begins in October.

      "We were aware that the administration and Department of Interior were on the same course as last year," said Gipp. "We're dismayed but we certainly have no intention of closing or anything like that. Our enrollment continues to increase and we have a high demand to continue what we've been doing for 35 years."

      The college receives about $3 million through the U. S. Department of Interior. The budget was restored by Congressional action during the past two fiscal years.

      "I believe they think we don't matter," said Gipp. "They see us as an easy target for elimination. I'm convinced that Gail Norton and her people at Interior don't care about the future of American Indian people and their families."

      Prior to the cuts made under the Bush Administration, UTTC had received BIA education itemized funding each year since 1981, said Gipp. Loss of the appropriation would cut the school's annual budget by about 53 percent.

      "If nothing else, there's probably a need for more schools like UTTC around the country," said Gipp. "Better education and training are fundamental to successful economies in the mainstream and among tribes."

      Congress and the administration need to make a strong commitment to assuring that tribal people will get that education too, he said.

      Gipp praised members of North Dakota's Congressional Delegation for their continued support, along with North Dakota Governor John Hoeven, local civic leaders and congressional representatives from other states.

      "We have bipartisan support," said Gipp. "It's very important that they know we appreciate their work on behalf of American Indian students and their families."

      The College has educated over 10,000 students and enrollment continues on an upward trend setting new records in each of the past two years. Plans call for expanding the campus and continuing to increase enrollment over the next five to seven years.

      "We have good data about what we do here, what we produce by way of students," said Gipp. "The best thing this administration and Congress can do is properly support us."

 

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