By Michael Abeyta

DENVER (CBS4)- Saturday inside the Tivoli on Denver’s Auraria Campus, the Metro State University Center for Multicultural Engagement and Native Indigenous Student Alliance held a commencement ceremony for Metro State University of Denver and CU Denver native and indigenous students.

(credit: CBS)

It was a proud day capped off with a big announcement.

“We will begin to offer free tuition and fees for Colorado residents who are registered with any of the 574 federally recognized Native nations across the country, ” announced Janine Davidson the president of MSU Denver.

(credit: CBS)

The program will begin in the fall of 2022. Kyla Aguirre is a member of the Native Indigenous Student Alliance and a junior at MSU Denver. She was shocked by the announcement. She will benefit from the program for as long as she’s in school. She says it is a big deal.

“It is life changing honestly,” she said.

(credit: CBS)

President Janine Davidson says this is the University’s way of giving back to a community that had everything taken from them.

“There’s a huge history of wrongs associated with native and indigenous peoples in this country, and we just really feel like it’s important for MSU Denver to really be doing our part to right those wrongs,” Davidson said.

(credit: CBS)

And while Kyla and Saturday’s graduates won’t see the biggest benefit, this program will help the future generations of Native and Indigenous students by removing a barrier to education. Which combined with Saturday’s graduations is reason for the Native community at MSU Denver celebrate.

Kyla says she hopes it will bring more of her people to MSU Denver.

“Go for it. This is meant for you,” she says.

Michael Abeyta