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Casino revenue protects Oklahoma tribal colleges from federal budget woes

Nationwide, tribal college and university leaders are concerned about how automatic federal budget cuts will affect their cash-strapped schools. But officials at Oklahoma's tribal institutions expect the impact of the cuts to be minimal.
by Silas Allen Modified: April 25, 2013 at 9:01 pm •  Published: April 26, 2013
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In Oklahoma

The situation is less dire at Oklahoma's tribal colleges. Robert Bible, president of the Okmulgee-based College of the Muscogee Nation, said the college doesn't receive any federal funding.

Oklahoma is home to four tribal colleges: College of the Muscogee Nation, Lawton's Comanche Nation College, Pawnee Nation College in Pawnee and the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal College, on the campus of Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford.

All four colleges are relatively new. Comanche Nation College, the oldest tribal college in the state, was founded in 2002.

The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, a higher education accrediting board, lists Comanche Nation and College of the Muscogee Nation as candidates for accreditation.

Comanche Nation College President Consuelo Lopez said the college is entirely funded by the tribe's casino revenues, meaning it will see no direct impact from budget sequestration.

Likewise, the College of the Muscogee Nation is funded by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation through casino revenues, Bible said. But he hopes to see the college draw more federal dollars once it receives accreditation. Then, any grants the college receives could be affected by federal budget cuts that might be enacted.

“We are kind of making plans just in case,” he said. “We haven't been affected yet.”

by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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