By Angeline Boulley

What is the Michigan Indian Tuition Waiver (MITW)?
The State of Michigan enacted Public Law 174 of 1976 that waives the tuition costs for eligible Native Americans attending public community colleges or universities within Michigan. It waives tuition for full-time or part-time courses taken during any semester including summer. Tuition can be waived for undergraduate and graduate courses, as students may continue to use the MITW through post-graduate work. Tuition can be waived for dually-enrolled students as long as both institutions are public colleges/universities in Michigan.

Does this mean I can attend college for free?
No. It means the college/university will waive only the tuition cost. Students are still responsible for all fees and other expenses, including room and board, books, supplies, transportation, etc.

Can this waiver be transferred to a private college or can I receive the funds directly to pay the tuition bill?
No. Only public community colleges or universities within Michigan are under legal obligation to waive tuition for eligible Native Americans through MITW. For a list of public community colleges and universities, check out a list on the Sault Tribe website, Sault Tribe Higher Education page on FaceBook, or the Michigan Department of Civil Rights website.

Are all Sault Tribe members eligible for this program?
No. Not every Sault Tribe member is eligible. To be eligible, you must be enrolled in a U.S. federally-recognized tribe, be a resident of Michigan for at least twelve consecutive months, be accepted for enrollment at a public community college or university in Michigan, and be certified as one-quarter (1/4) Native American blood quantum. Although the Sault Tribe is a federally-recognized Indian tribe, not every Sault Tribe member resides in Michigan. Also, not every Sault Tribe member is accepted for enrollment at a public college/university, which has the right to accept or deny any student for admission based on their own standards and criteria. Finally, since our tribal membership is based on lineal descent rather than blood quantum, not every Sault Tribe member will meet the requirement enacted by the State of Michigan.

How can I find out my blood quantum?
Sault Tribe Enrollment Department certifies blood quantum based on your enrollment file which includes information about your genealogy or family tree. The telephone number for Enrollment is 906-632-8552. There is a $15 charge to certify blood quantum, and this is done as part of the MITW application process. However, some parents choose to pay for a blood quantum certification before their child graduates from high school so they will know for certain if the child is eligible for MITW or other scholarships that require a minimum blood quantum amount.

What if I didn’t learn about the MITW until after I earned my degree? What if my blood quantum changed because historical documents were added to my tribal enrollment file? Can I be reimbursed for tuition costs I already paid?
No. The colleges/universities do not retroactively waive tuition for students. The Sault Tribe Enrollment Department certifies blood quantum according to approved documents as of the date the certification is processed and does not back date or make a certification retroactive.

What if I am a college student, have received the MITW, and am now experiencing problems with the school not waiving the tuition?
If your college/university imposes criteria above and beyond what is in the law, please contact the Sault Tribe Higher Education Program at 906-635-7784 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We can assist you in contacting your school and working to resolve any misunderstanding or misinformation. Some colleges/universities mistakenly treat the MITW as financial aid and try to subject it to conditions such as Satisfactory Academic Progress, degree-seeking status, or a limited number of credit hours.

Where can I get more information about MITW?
The State of Michigan website, specifically the homepage of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, is the best source for information and applications: www.michigan.gov/MDCR
The Sault Tribe provides information and applications on our tribal website as a courtesy to our members, but with the clear understanding that the MITW is not a Sault Tribe program: www.saulttribe.com.

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Photo by Ken Bosma / CC BY