Did you know that Sinte Gleska University has the ONLY free transportation service for their students in the country?
That’s right. SGU vans cover 1,380 miles a day to provide free, safe transportation for students in outlying areas. The transportation service has been in effect since the earliest days, when SGU was Sinte Gleska College. It was recognized that great distances and lack of transport would prevent otherwise interested students from enrolling. Students come from Corn Creek, He Dog, Springcreek, and Winner to name a few communities, with many places in between.
This service runs every day the college is in session. Each run is made to get students to classes at 9 am, then a 4 pm run, and a 10 o’clock run, when classes are over. This makes access to a car unnecessary, and can save students with cars hundreds of dollars over the course of a year, thousands by time of graduation. Students are picked up at their home unless the private road is over a mile long, or blizzard or mud prevent passage. In those cases, students are picked up on the main road. The drivers penetrate the most remote areas of the reservation to help students get an education.
One of the drivers, Dave Delgarito has been on staff 38 years, almost as long as SGU has existed. Another driver, Keith Larvie has driven for 13 years. Other drivers are newer to the staff: Kerry Davis, Ron Keller, and Neil Traversie, all under the direction of Dera Iyotte. These drivers keep impossibly long hours, from 6:30 am to midnight most days.
When students register for classes they also meet with transportation staff to register their class times and community. Drivers get to know their passengers, and also their schedule, and even keep students coming with encouragement.
We are proud of our drivers, who tackle the roads and mechanical glitches on a daily basis, whatever the conditions. And also we salute SGU, who saw the need and continues to provide support of all kinds for students.
Did you know that Sinte Gleska University has a full time Financial Aid Director, whose job it is to help you find the funds to go to college?
That’s right. His name is Midas Gunhammer, and he’s been doing this since, well, a long time. I can tell you from experience he is a patient person, who knows all the necessary hoops, and how to jump through them. He is ready to help you through the process, which otherwise might seem scary.
The first step is to fill out a FAFSA, which stands for Free Application For Student Aid. This is the most important document to fill out when you need money for tuition and books in order to attend college. This FAFSA document will calculate a student’s need for financial aid, and will also determine if the student is eligible for a PELL Grant. A FAFSA also helps in applying for other types of assistance because it establishes the need.
Many students here and elsewhere get PELL Grants. They are an entitlement to you as a US citizen, providing you meet the eligibility guidelines. This will depend on household size, income, and how many household members are currently attending college. (For more about PELL Grants, see box below.)
Midas’ office is in the Student Services Building, on the new Lake Campus. His phone number is 856-8140. Call or stop in to find out more about how SGU can help you get a college education, right here at home.
Watch next week’s paper for information about more scholarships available for Sinte Gleska students.
PELL is granted to applicants who meet the eligibility standards. The amount of the grant can be anywhere from a few hundred dollars a year, to $6,000 a year. The amount is determined by criteria stated earlier—income, household size, and number of college students in the household.
This money is funded by Congress, is overseen by the Department of Education and managed by the university’s financial aid officer, at Sinte it is Midas Gunhammer.
Essentially how PELL works:
Once funding is granted, certain minimum standards must be maintained by the student for the funding to continue. They must pass 67% of all the classes they take, and must maintain a given GPA (Grade Point Average—which means passing grades.) Should the student fall short in either of these areas, they will be given a chance to change that during the next semester. All is of this is explained to the student, and Midas will help by making sure you understand the procedure and conditions. Basically, if a student finishes most of their classes with a C or better, the funding will typically continue until you reach your first four year degree.