Tribal officials sign agreement with Fielding Graduate University

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FARMINGTON — The Office of Navajo Nation Scholarship and Financial Assistance and Fielding Graduate University have entered an agreement to provide scholarships for tribal members seeking a doctorate in education at the California-based university.

The memorandum of agreement will provide scholarships for up to 20 students admitted to the university's program, according to a Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President press release.

Each student will receive $6,705 each term for up to 10 terms and will be responsible for the remaining amount of tuition, according to the scholarship and financial aid office.

Rose Graham, department manager for the scholarship and financial assistance office, said students will take courses online and must be full-time students enrolled in six credit hours each term.

As part of the program, the university will have a local cohort available to meet periodically with students, she said.

With those resources available, students are not required to move to the university's campus in Santa Barbara, California, Graham said.

"They will receive their education while working their jobs as educators or school administrators. It's another way to grow our own educators, and the research they will conduct will be for the benefit of Navajo students," she said.

Graham said eight students have been admitted to the program so far, and several more candidates are completing the admission process.

The agreement went into effect on Monday and was signed by tribal President Russell Begaye, Vice President Jonathan Nez and university President Katrina S. Rogers.

Begaye said in the release the purpose of the partnership is to increase the number of qualified educational leaders working in schools and colleges on the Navajo Nation.

As part of the agreement, students will be required to sign a contract that outlines funding eligibility, enrollment requirements and academic standards.

The contact also states that upon graduation, students will teach or work as a school administrator on the reservation one year for every year the scholarship was received.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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