|Two legislative acts approved by Cherokee Nation councilors,
in Tahlequah, during their regular meeting on Feb. 14 will reserve additional money for college scholarships.
added from the act, entitled “Motor Fuel Tax Education Scholarship Appropriation Act,” will be spent for non-PELL
Scholarships and placed in a separate interest-bearing account. The added money brings the total budget reserved
for scholarships to $2,820,003.
With the money
now available, each Cherokee student granted a scholarship will receive $8,000 for four years of college. Approximately
500-550 students receive financial assistance each academic year. More and more students apply each year since
the blood quantum requirement for grants is no longer restricted so funding is limited.
must have be members of the Cherokee Nation or the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians and attending, or
planning to attend, a regionally-accredited post-secondary institution. Applicants must also apply for financial
aid at their selected institution, demonstrate financial need and accept any aid offered by the institution. Deadline
for application submission is April 1 of each year.
education act, entitled the “Motor Fuel Tax Education Trust Appropriation Act,” set aside an additional $2 million
for scholarships. The Cherokee Nation is authorized by contract to expend Motor Fuel Tax revenue for highway and
bridge construction, health, corrections, law enforcement and education.
A trust fund
will be established with the $2 million, and money will not be spent from it until July 1, 2017, when the tribe’s
Motor Fuel Tax compact with the state expires. Chairman of the council’s executive and finance committee, Harold
DeMoss, said in 17 years the $2 million invested plus the 25 percent taken from each quarterly Motor Fuel Tax check
from the state should provide the Cherokee Nation with approximately $60 million in reserve for scholarships.
he hopes future councils will only use the interest from the money after it matures and not spend this money before
it does. He said after 17 years the tribe should reap $3 million a year in interest for scholarships.
“We are always
talking about doing this but never do it,” DeMoss said. “I’m very proud to be a part of a council that is doing