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Bemidji State will start accepting all students from 4 tribal colleges

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Bemidji State University
Bemidji State University
John Enger | MPR News file

It's always been complicated to transfer credits from a tribal college to a traditional four-year university.   

But Bemidji State University is changing that. Recently, the university reached a dual-enrollment agreement with Red Lake, Leech Lake, White Earth and Fond du Lac tribal colleges. Students from those tribal colleges are now automatically accepted at BSU, and there's no enrollment fee.  

  BSU American Indian Resource Center director Bill Blackwell Jr. helped build the program. He said the old process was a barrier to native students.

  "When they're not sure about continuing their education," he said, "sometimes it just takes that smallest little thing to go, 'OK, there it is. I shouldn't do it.'"  

Tribal college students will also get BSU ID cards, which gives them access to the campus and most sporting events.

It's a unique arrangement, Blackwell said. No other university has dual enrollment agreements with so many tribal colleges.   

Blackwell hopes streamlining the enrollment process for tribal college students will bring more native students to BSU.