Published: May 25, 2023 By

Andrea Bean, a rising junior and member of the Southern Ute Tribe, was attracted to CU Boulder because of the vast opportunities and the environment on campus. But she faced a common problem: How to pay for it. 

Chancellor DiStefano signing an agreement with the Southern Ute Tribe

Photo: Chancellor Philip DiStefano and Tribe Vice Chairman Lorelei Cloud sign the CU Boulder Tuition and Fee Partnership Program. (Credit: Southern Ute Indian Tribe)

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 For more information about the partnership, contact the Southern Ute Education Department at 970-563-0237. 

For members of the Southern Ute tribe, some financial barriers are eased with a revived partnership with the Southern Ute Department of Education that funds tuition and mandatory student fees for up to four Southern Ute students per year starting this fall. 

While Bean received assistance from the tribe’s education program and scholarships, some future students will have tuition and fees covered by CU Boulder. 

“I wouldn't have been able to attend without the help of the tribe's education program and the scholarship they granted me,” Bean said. 

Tribal leaders, CU President Todd Saliman, DiStefano and other CU faculty and community members also planned to attend an intertribal Bear Dance while visiting southwest Colorado. 

“We want to make it easier for Native American students to attend CU Boulder,” Chancellor Philip DiStefano said at a community event Thursday at the Sky Ute Resort and Casino on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation in Ignacio. "It's also important that we ensure that students find a ‘home away from home’ on  campus that respects their culture and supports their goals – whether those goals involve returning to their home communities to make a difference as graduates or using their degrees to make a difference in another part of the globe."

"We are excited for members of the Southern Ute Tribe to continue their educational journey on the CU Boulder campus, and can't wait to welcome future Buffs while continuing to serve those Southern Ute students whose journey has already begun," Saliman said. 

CU leaders said this partnership helps build a bridge. 

Under the initiative, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe Department of Education will nominate up to four students per year based on tribal enrollment and other criteria. Nominees must be enrolled full-time at CU Boulder and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 

“The Southern Ute Indian Tribe is thankful for the collaboration with our higher education partners,” Tribe Vice Chairman Lorelei Cloud said. “Education is a priority, and this revitalized opportunity expands our youths’ resources to pursue higher education.”

In her case, Bean will continue her work in her major of integrative physiology and minor in ecology and evolutionary biology. Her twin brother, Marcus, is also a CU Boulder student.