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Samish Education Blog

Changes to the Higher Education Assistance Award Program

Mar 29, 2024, 10:57 by Denise Crowe
Information about the new Letter of Intent and other Education Program policy changes in effect for the new 2024-2025 Academic Year.

Introducing the Letter of Intent

The Letter of Intent is a form that all students (new and continuing) are now required to submit by June 30th. The Letter of Intent is a brief and easy to submit form which will provide the Samish Education Department with the information necessary to determine how to equitably distribute the award budget for the upcoming academic year. With this new system, the award amount will vary from year to year, making possible the inclusion of all eligible students.

Why is this happening?

2023 brought a surge of new applicants to the Higher Education Program which created a large waitlist of eligible students, resulting in many students not receiving any award. Tribal Council convened the Education Committee in September 2023 to find a way to make the program better serve the needs of all eligible Samish Citizens seeking higher education support. After many meetings, the Education Committee proposed policy and program changes, which Tribal Council approved in December. The policy changes will be implemented for the 2024-2025 Academic Year.

Pathway to Award

Letters of Intent First

From January 1st to June 30th, all Students must fill out a Letter of Intent form. Your Letter of Intent secures your interest in the program for the academic year. The Samish Education Department will use these forms to calculate the student award amount for the upcoming academic year given the budget approved by Tribal Council. All students will be notified of the maximum student award amount in July.

Applications Second

To be accepted and receive awards, students need to submit Application forms (One of two versions: New or Continuing Student).

Whether students submit a New or Continuing Student Application is based on whether the student is already in Samish’s Higher Education Assistance Award program. If you are new to the program or are returning after 2 or more missed terms, you must use the New Student Application. New students applying for a Fall 2024 start must submit their new student application by June 30th.

 All other students who have already been accepted into the program use the Continuing Student Application. 

I’m a Continuing Student. Do I need to submit a Letter of Intent? 


I’m a New Student. I definitely need to submit a Letter of Intent, right? 


What if I don’t submit a Letter of Intent? 

The Letter of Intent allows Samish Education Department to allocate the entire year’s award budget equitably. So students who did not submit a Letter of Intent before the deadline of June 30th can submit Applications, but those applications will be placed on hold and can only be approved pending funds becoming available through changes in other student plans. 

Spread the word 

Please help spread the word to eligible Samish Citizens seeking higher education assistance at any point in the academic year beginning Fall 2024! If you are a potential new student or currently active student in the program, be sure to get your forms in as soon as you are able for best results. 

If you have questions about any of these changes or need help, please contact the Education Department