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Ernie Watson
Albuquerque, N.M.
Release Date

The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) is located just a few miles southwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico and has the distinction to receive more obligations from USDA Rural Development in the state than any other.    --15 to be exact!

 The secret to the school’s success in receiving the funding is they have a dedicated grant writer that does the research on what is needed to complete the various USDA Rural Development program applications.

 Since 2001, the 15 funding packages the school has received have been used to build classrooms, the school’s library and technology center, the completion of a multipurpose fitness and performing arts center, a small solar power system, a green house, and other facilities.

 The latest obligation was made in September of 2022, where IAIA received a Tribal College Initiative Grant in the amount of $344,895. The new funding will be used to install additional solar panels and an electric vehicle (EV) charging station. 

 The IAIA campus is designed to reduce its carbon footprint and the school’s goal is to become self-sustaining and only use renewable energy.  –And soon IAIA is planning to apply for a 16th funding package from USDA Rural Development which will allow the school to reach this goal.

 IAIA is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and is a member of the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC). Originally established as a high school in 1962 the school implemented a revolutionary approach to arts education. IAIA is now a public land-grant college that is considered the birthplace of contemporary Native American art.

 Latest Obligation Amount:  $344,895 Tribal College Initiative Grant

IAIA Funding Totals:          Click here for listing of IAIA funding projects by USDA Rural Development

Date of obligation:    Beginning in 2001

Congressional District:        Teresa Leger Fernandez 3rd, Martin Heinrich, Ben Ray Lujan Senators

Demographics:          600 Native American and non-Native American students from across the nation and several countries make up the student body

Impact:          The funding is also helping IAIA to construct energy efficient facilities which helps the school attain its goal to improve the environment.

Additional Photos:    Click Here

For more information:         For more information and how to apply for the Community Facilities Program Click here