Lankford Joins Effort for Accurate Count of Benefit Eligible Native American Students

The last official count for Native American students eligible for the Johnson O’Malley (JOM) program, a program that provides cultural and academic assistance to Native American students, was taken in 1995. The count of 271,884 Native American students by the Bureau of Indian Affairs has rapidly grown to over 500,000 young Native Americans according to the National Congress of Native Indians in 2010. These Native Americans could be eligible for JOM with the help of Senators James Lankford, Heidi Heitkamp, and Steve Daine’s bill that would provide updated educational opportunities.

Lankford, Heitkamp and Daine introduced the Johnson O’Malley Supplemental Indian Education Program Modernization Act on April 27, 2017. This legislation will update the decades-old data used by the federal government concerning Native American benefits.

Lankford calls the hardships faced by American Indian students finding quality education tragic.

“The Johnson O’Malley program provides cultural and academic assistance to those students and helps open the door for a brighter tomorrow,” stated Lankford.

This new legislation will fix a twenty-year-old problem and will ensure JOM will operate with an accurate Native American student count.

In order to find potential eligible students, the bill will call for existing public information from the National Center of Education Statistics and the US Census Bureau to update the count of Native American students.


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