California Indian Nations College Leaders Celebrate State Budget Allocation

Stanley Rodriguez, principal of Kumeyaay Community College in San Diego County, poses for a selfie with state lawmakers and local higher education leaders holding a $5 million check from the State of California at the California Indian Nations College in Palm Springs, Calif., on Nov.  .  16, 2022.

California State Assemblymen James C. Ramos and Eduardo Garcia joined local higher education leaders Wednesday in Palm Springs to celebrate the state’s $5 million budget allocation to California. Indian Nations College.

CINC seeks to become the first federally accredited tribal college in California in nearly two decades. CINC President and CEO Celeste Townsend said the school will use the money to advance its planning process toward that goal, which could be achieved in several years.

Accreditation would not only ensure the credibility of CINC degrees with other institutions and employers, but it would also open avenues for the community college to receive federal funding, Townsend said.

CINC was chartered by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians in 2017 and currently depends on tribal funding to cover its operating costs.

Over the past year, the school has doubled in size to over 80 students and 10 staff representing over 50 tribes.

State Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia speaks to a crowd gathered to celebrate a $5 million state investment in the California Indian Nations College in Palm Springs, California on November 16, 2022.

Currently, CINC does not have a stand-alone campus and relies on a partnership with College of the Desert to share some of its facilities.

COD and Cal State University San Bernardino also have agreements to accept CINC courses for transfer.

Leaders emphasized the importance of California Indians having greater access to higher education and greater representation as teachers and professors at all levels, in addition to their own self-contained college where tribal cultures are celebrated and studied.

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