DENVER (KDVR) — A new Metropolitan State University of Denver grant will cover 100% of tuition and fees for Indigenous and Native students.

Beginning in the 2022 fall semester, eligible Colorado residents who are enrolled with federally recognized nations will not spend a penny on their education thanks to a combination of federal, state and institutional grants.

According to MSU, this grant further builds upon a legislative bill that passed in 2021 requiring state higher-education institutions to offer in-state tuition to all Native students.

SB21-029 was signed by Gov. Polis to allow in-state tuition to students who would not otherwise qualify for in-state as long as they are enrolled in one of the 574 recognized nations.

“Many students coming to us from their reservations often feel ostracized, so it’s important to find that space of belonging,” said David Heska Wanbli Weiden, professor of Political Science at MSU Denver. “My hope is to continue building on the work we’re doing to attract many more students to have that critical mass, along with more professors and expanded clubs and scholarships.”

Data reported from the American Indian Graduate Center states that 14.5% of the American Indian and Alaska Native population has a bachelor’s degree or higher. That is compared to the 31.1% of the overall population that has the same degree.

“This is long overdue — it’s time for the State of Colorado and MSU Denver to honor the obligations to Indigenous people whose land we are living on,” Weiden said.

Eligible students must register for at least one credit that will go towards a badge, certificate or first bachelor’s degree up to 125 credits.