Higher Education Policy

Introduction

  1. The Stillaguamish Tribal Education Department (STED) is resolved in its goal of being responsive to the people whom  it serves.  To ensure  accuracy,  consistency,  fairness,  and the highest level of service, the Stillaguamish Tribal Education Department is developing these Policies and Procedures. These Policies and Procedures will be an on-going process which will include further development and revision. These Policies and Procedures will provide instruction on how to complete the important processes performed by the STED. Benefits will be based upon the Stillaguamish Tribe’s financial ability and is subject to available funds.
  2. Tribal members and descendants will be encouraged to use their tribal-assisted  education for the betterment of the Stillaguamish Tribe and its members.
  3. Incarcerated tribal members or incarcerated descendants are not eligible for financial assistance under this policy.

Section 1 – Application Process

  1. All Stillaguamish tribal members who wish to utilize the services ofthe STED for themselves, their children, or their wards must fill out an application with the STED, regardless of the programs they are interested in utilizing.
  2. To be eligible for the STED education services, the child must be an enrolled Stillaguamish Tribal member or a recognized descendant of the Stillaguamish Tribe.
  3. Application packets may be obtained from the STED office.
  4. The application will contain a release statement for school transcripts which the applicant must sign and date, thereby giving approval for the release of information required for the STED and  its services.  In the event  the application  is for a minor, the parent  or guardian of the minor must sign and date the application on his/her behalf.
  5. Applicants should seek prior approval. For higher education scholarships, applicants must also submit the Scholarship Application Packet, Funding Acceptance Agreement, proof of enrollment in school or program, proof of expense (invoice or letter from the school or vendor), and the W9 “Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification” form from School or Vendor or individual receiving the payment (to obtain the vendor ID or individual’s social security number).
  6. The STED will maintain strict confidential controls for all information obtained from Stillaguamish Tribal members and that information will only be available to the STED, the Board of Directors, and designees of the Board of Directors when appropriate.

STED Policy

Adopted March 21, 2019 pursuant to Board Resolution No. 2019/042

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  • This program does not create any kind of legal entitlement to funding for education.
  • The STED reserves the right  to  reject  requests  for  funding,  or  to  request  reimbursements in accordance with departmental and Tribal policies and procedures .
  • The Stillaguamish Tribe reaffirms that it does not waive its sovereign immunity with respect to any aspect of the STED activities.
  • If the applicant is awarded a scholarship, the payments will be made directly to the school, vendor, or program. Following the first quarter/semester, payments will be issued upon the submission of a progress or grade report to the STED no less than twice per year, not to exceed once per month.

Section 2- Acceptance of Financial Assistance

  1. Upon acceptance of financial assistance  the applicant (or legal guardian of the applicant,  if the applicant is under the age of 18) agrees to:

l.     Follow all rules, regulations, and attendance requirements of the class, program, institution or session as indicated in the application.

  • Disdust: any and aii finam:iai aid, grant awards, tuition waivers, etc. upon receiving them.
  • Declare a major. A student must take courses that are relevant to their degree chosen.
  • Maintain a 2.0 grade point average (GPA) C average or above (or if student is not given a letter grade, then they must be considered “passing”) in order to continue to qualify for higher education program or adult education benefits.
  • If the student chooses to withdraw from a class, the student must repay the Tribe for the costs covered by the Tribe for the class. A student who fails a class but does not want to retake the class may continue to be eligible for Higher Education Scholarship if the following conditions are met:
  • The student must repay the Tribe for the costs covered by the Tribe for the class; and,
  • The student’s GPA remains above the minimum requirement.
  • Probation for GPA falling below minimum req uire ment :
  • If a student’s GPA falls below the minimum stated for any funding period, the student will be placed on probation.
  • If the student’s GPA falls below the minimum stated for any funding period, the student then has one(!) quarter/ semester to raise their GPA. If the GPA remains below the minimum after one quarter/ semester, the student will be required to pay their education expenses on their own until they are able to achieve a GPA ofat least the minimum.
  • Continued Probation: If the GPA increased the following semester/term, although still below the minimum stated above, the student may continue with probation for one additional term. Students on continued probation must pay their own costs for education during the continued probation.
  • Funding Cancelled: Funding will be cancelled for any student who fails to maintain the established minimum GPA at the end of two consecutive terms. Students will be required to repay the Tribe for the cost of a failed class.
  • Regaining Good Stand ing :
  • Regaining Good Standing: after funding is cancelled, the student must successfully complete a semester without scholarship funding to be eligible for future scholarship.
  • If the student remains on probation for more than two consecutive terms, that will jeopardize the payout of any remaining balances on the scholarship that academic year and become ineligible for future funding until student’s GPA improves for one whole term.
  • Reimburse the tribe for all financial assistance in the event that the applicant fails to complete or withdraws from any program or class in which the Tribe provided financial assistance.
  • In cases where hardships or an emergency withdrawal is necessary, the applicant must inform the STED in writing within one week  after  applicant  fails to complete or withdraws from class.
  • Applicant must explain the reason or circumstance and provide any proof or back up documentation.
  • Such applications will be reviewed by the Board of Directors (BOD) or their designees.
  • Following the review period (approximately 2-3 weeks), the STED will contact the applicant to inform them of the BOD or designees decision/determination.

NOTE: The applicant (and legal guardian) understands that the applicant and the applicant’s legal guardian will not be eligible for additional financial  assistance until all required reimbursements are paid in full. Any debt not paid back  within one year becomes a “bad debt” to the Tribe.

  • The STED will review the student’s progress  after  each  term  to determine  whether  or  not the student has complied with all financial assistance.  In the event  that  the student  has  not met the standards promulgated in these policies, the STED will notify the accounting department to take the appropriate action.
  • The applicant (or legal guardian) understands that this program does not create any kind  of legal entitlement to funding for education.

Section 3 – Pre-Kindergarten

a) The Tribe encourages the use of public programs. In the event that the district does not offer, or the family does not qualify for, public instruction, the tribe would consider financial assistance for tuition consistent with the Arlington Head-Start schedule.

Section 4 – Kindergarten through 12th Grade Tutoring Assistance

  1. An eligible child may receive financial assistance for tutoring services. Payments will be issued upon the submission of a progress report to the STED from the tutoring institution or vendor. Reports must be brought up-to-date each academic term and applicants or their  parents are responsible for transportation to and from the tutoring session.
  2. The STED will  not  be financially  responsible  for  any  tutoring  sessions  when  the student is absent.

Section 5 – Adult and Higher Education

  1. In addition to the application packet, eligible adult tribal members must submit:
  2. Occupational goals statement
    1. W9 for the school or vendor
    1. Proof of expenses [i.e. documentation detailing costs for academic year]
    1. Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA). The applicant must apply and must provide proof of application whether approved or denied.
    1. Copy of Financial Aid award letter from your college or institution
    1. Proof of enrollment in school or program
    1. Copy of class schedule that the student will be attending
    1. Financial need analysis
    1. Tribal Financial Assistance Acceptance agreement form
  3. An eligible applicant  who  is enrolled  full  time  in  an  accredited  higher  education institution may  receive  tuition  assistance.  Full time status  is determined  by the  institution in which the applicant is attending. Applicants attending less than full time status will be eligible for a pro-rated amount.
  4. The Tribe may provide financial support to students for tuition, books, lab-fees and other related course expenses when such items are required.
  5. Expenses must be required in the course/class syllabus and proof of expenses must be presented to STED prior to starting the course/class.
  6. Students whose courses require a notebook computer must file an application with the STED that will be referred to the IT department. Written proof of the notebook requirement must be submitted to the STED department along with the application. The STED department will forward the application to the IT for approval.  Once  the application is approved, the IT department will process. The STED will contact the applicant when the notebook computer is ready for pick-up.
  7. . Computers cannot  be purchased  directly  by the student.  All computers  will be purchased through IT department.
  8. In the event the STED supplies a  notebook  computer  to a student,  the student must complete the course of study and/or degree program that the computer was granted for in order to keep the computer permanently. If the student does not complete the course within the timeframe agreed upon with the STED, the student must reimburse the tribe for the notebook computer.
  9. The student may then be responsible for the replacement of the lost, stolen or damaged equipment, at the discretion of the STED. If equipment is stolen, the student is responsible for reporting the theft to the proper law enforcement authority.
  10. Upon successful completion of the course and/or degree program for which purchases were made, the equipment and supplies will then become property of the student.

Section 6 – Arts, Academics, Athletics, and Music Programs

  1. An eligible child may receive benefits for programs or activities considered educational enrichment (such as performing arts, music, dance), or athletic  programs.  Applicants must complete and sign application packet documents for the Enrichment Activities Scholarship (AAAM).
  2. In order to assure financial assistance, applicants are encouraged to complete the application process in advance of the enrichment event.
  3. Applicants must receive approval  from  the  STED  prior  to enrollment  or  participation  in an event, which may take up to three weeks for processing.

Section 7- Driver’s Education

  1. Applicants must be legally eligible to obtain a drivers permit.
  2. The Tribe encourages the use of public programs. The Tribe would offer one time

financial assistance if the student has a 2.0 GPA or higher. {Nole: school. do not ha ve requirements for students since this is an after-school program and then char ge a fee.7

Section 8 – Expenses for Adult Vocational Training

a) An eligible applicant may receive  financial  assistance  for one  vocational  training program every five (5) years. Financial assis tance may cover books, materials and other course or classroom related supplies. Expenses must be required in the course/class syllabus and proof of expenses must be presented to STED prior to starting the

co urse/class.

Section 9 – Developmental Disabilities-Special Needs

  1. STED will provide financial assistance to applicants who  have  learning  disabilities, including costs for special needs assessments. Applicants must  apply  for  funds  by submitting a reque st in writ ing , explaining the  need,  and submit  an expense  detail outlining costs for which the applicant seeks  monetary  assistance.  The  request  for  funds will be reviewed by the STED for determination within three weeks.
  2. STED will conduct semi-annual reviews of program participants to guarantee compliance.
  3. Home-schooled public school age students will be considered for services on a case-by­ case basis.

Section 10 – Campus Tours and Housing Search

  1. The Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians may cover the following expenses for eligible students who have been accepted into an accredited 4-year university within the continental United States (including Alaska & Hawaii) for the purpose of Campus Tours & Housing Search.

I .    Airfare travel to and from the selected University or mileage reimbursement if traveling by car for campuses that are 50 miles or greater from the students’ residential address. Applicant(s) must provide proof of the acceptance letter along with pertinent university campus tour contact information such as the name and phone numb er of an admissions representative for verification purposes .

  1. Scholarship covers one roundtrip coach airfare for the student plus one roundtrip coach airfare for the parent/guardian (for students under the age of 21).

or

ii . Scholarship covers mileage reimbursement  compliant  with  the  Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians Mileage Reimbursement Policy and is subject to change .

  • Car rental reimbursement compliant with the Stillaguamish Tribe oflndians Car Rental Policy and is subject to change.
  • Hotel stay for the length of the trip for a maximum stay of 3 nights not exceeding the national average per night. Tour schedules and contact information must be provided prior to acceptance of funds.
  • Daily per diem reimbursement compliant with the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians Per Diem Policy. Rates will be calculated based on the travel dates and times. Per diem rates are subject to change.
  • All students must submit STED Campus Tour Travel Application for each trip to be eligible for funding at least 15 days in advance.
  • Upon the return from campus/housing tours, the Higher Education Reimbursement Form must be submitted along with valid receipts, mileage reports, and proof of purchases.

NOTE: All airfare, hotel, and rental car reservations, and all travel expenses are the student’s and/or parents/guardians responsibility if the student is under the age of 18. Airfare, hotel, rental car and daily per diem allowances will be reimbursed upon return from each trip.

  • Funding will cover up to and not exceeding 3 campus tours if the student has been accepted into more than 1 university.
  • It is the parents/guardians responsibility to schedule and to cancel airfare, hotel, and rental car reservations in advance to avoid penalty fees.
  • Any airfare, hotel, and or rental car cancellations will not be reimbursed if fees have been accrued.

11.       If cancellation occurs, the Education Department must be notified at the time of cancellation.

  • Failure to comply with the above requirements may forfeit future higher education scholarship funding.

Section 11 – Miscellaneous Fees and Expenses

a) Tribal children with special needs, in foster care or guardianship, and those in custody of non-tribal parents may qualify for additional assistance.  The STED  may  provide additional financial assistance, such as clothing and school supply allowances or private school tuition, based on financial need or special circumstances. The STED reserves the right to determine eligibility for additional assistance based on need, circumstances, and available funding. Expenses not approved  by the STED  are the  responsibility  of the child’s parent or legal guardian.