The president of United Tribes Technical College called it "wonderful news" that the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior has approved $3 million in federal funding for UTTC.

The money represents half of the Bismarck college's 2003 operating funds.

UTTC President David Gipp has been working with North Dakota's congressional delegation for more than four months to restore a $3 million cut in federal funding for UTTC in President Bush's budget package delivered to Congress earlier this year.

"Obviously, it's not done yet, but it's certainly a strong sign that this is going to be resolved — hopefully fairly soon," Gipp said.

U.S. Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., said restoring UTTC's funding has been one of his top priorities. As the state's lone congressman, he has had to carry the ball in the U.S. House on this issue as well as others in the state's interest, Gipp said.

"I believe United Tribes has done an excellent job for more than 30 years and has made a tremendous difference in the lives of hundreds of students," Pomeroy said. "We are delighted with the subcomittee's move and believe it was an important first step to get funding restored for another year."

Now that the House subcommittee has taken action, Gipp expects similar action in the U.S. Senate within the next week or two.

Pomeroy said the full House will likely vote on the measure sometime during July. He hopes that United Tribes will be able to operate as normal this fall with no interruptions.

Gipp said the college is moving ahead and remains optimistic that funding will be fully restored. "We want to let our students and others know that we are planning to open our doors for the fall," he said.

(Reach reporter Steve Van Dyke at 250-8225 or stevev@ndonline.com.)

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