5.28.2007

With Tuition Waiver, Maine Invests in Its ‘First People’

With Tuition Waiver, Maine Invests in Its ‘First People’ (by Katie Zezima, NYTimes -5.28.07)

ORONO, Me. — By the time she was 32, Karen Carrion was living in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., working for a concert promoter and looking for a change. She had never attended college and considered it out of the question because of the cost.

That changed when Ms. Carrion’s mother, a Maine native and a member of the Penobscot Indian Nation, urged her to apply to the University of Maine and its North American Indian Waiver and Scholarship Program.

“I probably wouldn’t have gone to college at all if not for this,” Ms. Carrion, a sophomore majoring in women’s studies, said between classes at the university’s flagship campus in Orono, about eight miles north of Bangor.

The scholarship pays for tuition, fees, room and board for any undergraduate or graduate student who can prove membership in a state or federally recognized tribe or can prove direct descent from a member.

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