USDA: Agriculture Secretary Vilsack awards $4.7 Million for tribal college grants


Jay Fletcher (202) 690-0498

WASHINGTON, Sept. 3, 2009 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that 22 tribal colleges in nine states have been selected to receive $4.7 million through the USDA Rural Development Tribal College Grant program.

“This funding will help tribal colleges make much-needed infrastructure improvements so they can continue to provide job opportunities for local residents and spur economic development,” Vilsack said.

USDA Rural Development Tribal College Grants are provided to land-grant institutions for education and outreach to provide essential services to Native American communities and to help meet residents’ needs.

In North Dakota, for example, United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) has been selected for a $220,000 grant to help remodel and expand the college’s cafeteria. The facility was built more than 40 years ago and does not meet the needs of the current student body, which has increased 173 percent since 2002. The project will expand the facility by 3,500 square feet and double the number of people that may be served. There also will be more space for food preparation, serving, cooking and storage. Small appliances will be replaced with more energy efficient ones. UTTC is a private not-for-profit two-year college established in 1969 by an intertribal organization. It is operated by the five tribes located in North Dakota.

The White Earth Tribal and Community College in Mahnomen, Minn., plans to use a $199,500 grant to purchase and renovate a building the college currently rents. The renovation will include accessibility improvements, the replacement of interior doors, upgrades to bathrooms and the electrical system, and expansion of classroom space. Also, new vestibules will be added to increase energy efficiency.

In 2008, Salish Kootenai College in Pablo, Mont., used a $272,350 USDA Rural Development grant to add three classrooms to an existing art building to accommodate increased enrollment. The building is expected to be completed next month. USDA Rural Development funding has played a significant role in upgrading and expanding facilities on the campus, which has helped boost enrollment. In past years, USDA funds have been used to help fund a performing arts center, a wellness facility at the college, renovation of a day care center, as well as paving and infrastructure work.

Below is a complete list of the selected recipients. Funding of each award is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the grant agreement.


Ilisagvik College; $220,000 grant


Tohono O’odham Community College; $220,000 grant


Leech Lake Tribal College; $219,625 grant
White Earth Tribal & Community College; $199,500 grant


Salish Kootenai College; $220,000 grant
Little Big Horn College; $220,000 grant
Fort Peck Community College; $220,000 grant
Fort Belknap College; $220,000 grant
Chief Dull Knife College; $220,000 grant
Blackfeet Community College; $220,000 grant
Stone Child College; $220,000 grant


Little Priest Tribal College; $85,000 grant

North Dakota

* United Tribes Technical College; $220,000 grant
* Cankdeska Cikana Community College; $220,000 grant
* Turtle Mountain Community College; $220,000 grant
* Sitting Bull; $220,000 grant
* Bay Mills Community College; $220,000 grant

South Dakota

Oglala Lakota College; $220,000 grant
Sisseton Wahpeton College; $220,000 grant


Northwest Indian College; $220,000 grant


College of Menominee Nation; $220,000 grant
Lac Courte Oreioles Ojibwa Community College; $220,000 grant

USDA Rural Development’s mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development fosters growth in homeownership, finances business development and supports the creation of critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development’s web site at