“One of the primary reasons for the high college dropout rate for Native Americans is due to financial distress,” President Russell Begaye said. “With student housing provided by the Navajo Nation, we can alleviate some of this burden off our students and support them in reaching their full potential.”

Navajo students will occupy the entire fifth and sixth floors of the facility, 118 beds in 59 rooms, in a space that reflects the cultural and historical values of the Nation. The term of the agreement is three years and seven months starting on Jan. 1, 2018 and ending on July 31, 2021. For the initial period of the agreement, the Navajo Nation will pay UNM the sum of $1,457,300 for occupancy of the fifth and sixth floors of the building.

“This partnership will help Navajo students pursue degrees in STEM and other fields,” said UNM Interim President Chaouki Abdallah. “I applaud the Navajo Nation for taking the initiative to place them in a comfortable and synergistic environment. Through our many current and planned academic support services, UNM is excited to partner with the Navajo Nation to ensure the success of our students.”

Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez said, “This is an opportunity to invest in future professionals who will return to the Navajo Nation to improve our government, businesses and quality of life.”

“With the Lobo Rainforest agreement, not only will we see the costs decrease for our college students but we will create a strong sense of community to ultimately increase retention and continue to support our children,” he added.

The two-bedroom, two-bath apartment-style units are furnished, including a full kitchen with a dishwasher, and a washer and dryer. UNM will provide all utilities, internet service and routine maintenance. The Navajo Nation will determine eligibility for Navajo students who wish to live in the Rainforest Building.

Pricing for the final two years of the agreement will be determined each August, based on the overall rate for UNM students. The fixed fee is based on the total number of beds and not contingent on occupancy.

Navajo students interested in this initiative can find more information at Navajo Nation Community or by calling Residence Life and Student Housing at 505.277.2606.

For more information, visit Lobo Rainforest.

Source: http://news.unm.edu/news/the-university-of-new-mexico-and-navajo-nation-announce-student-housing-partnership.