60+ Scholarships for Native American Students

Last updated: March 22, 2018

For centuries, the United States Government has been working towards creating equal opportunities for Native Americans. With education in particular, government agencies have been navigating just how much support to provide citizens whose family tree spans generations in North America, while still allowing them to uphold their own individual rights and traditions.

The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) exists today as a testament to this work. Today there are 183 Indian-education run schools in the U.S., providing educational opportunities for native people with the mission of providing educational opportunities that allow economic and cultural well-being for Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages.

While the BIE does create fantastic opportunities for students who wish to advance their education in accordance with this mission, endless educational opportunities exist for native people to receive support towards the pursuit of higher education in a non-traditional setting. Use our interactive guide below to sort through resources and over 60 Native American scholarships available for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Educational Milestones for Native Americans

Educational Milestones for Native American Students in the U.S.
“1.5 percent of the U.S. population, around 4.5 million individuals, self-identifies as American Indian or Alaska Native descent. Of these, an estimated 1.9 million are eligible for federal services.”
U.S. Census Bureau

Federal aid is only one of the many ways to receive support towards your pursuit of a degree. Privately funded scholarships offer a substantial opportunity to receive need-based support that honors your native descent. But financial support is not the only resource available for Native American students. The American Indian College Fund and other organizations also provide support in the form of professional development, academic support, and curated toolkits aimed to set you up for success.

Resources for Native American Students

Trace Indian Ancestry

The nation’s largest minority education organization provides scholarship opportunities by raising money to support students of color to attend, thrive and graduate from college to become better leaders of their communities.

Federal Student Aid

The U.S. Department of Education provides information and tips for how to qualify for aid and prepare for college.

Native Scholars 101

From the American Indian College Fund, Student Success Services curated this toolkit filled with free resources for Native scholars.

Professional Development

The American Indian College Fund offers professional development tips from resume building, interviewing tips, and professional etiquette.

 
 

How to Pay for College

1

Scholarships

There are hundreds of scholarships for Native American students, which are awarded by local organizations, private companies, societies and more.

 
2

Grants

Grants don’t need to be paid back and are based on your financial circumstances. They are usually funded by the federal government, your state or college.

 
3

Fellowships

While scholarships usually fund tuition, fellowships typically cover graduate study, research projects and abroad experiences without needing to be paid back.

 
4

Student Loans

You can borrow money from the government or a bank, but it needs to be paid back with interest. The federal government offers many loan options—fill out the free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if you qualify for financial aid. If you need help, use our interactive guide to learn how to answer every question.

 
5

Federal Work-Study Program

Provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to pay education expenses.

 
 

If you’re just beginning the process of finding suitable scholarships, make sure you’re prepared for the application process by starting a folder with the assets below.

Scholarship Application Preparation

Not all scholarships are based off of your GPA, but most need to verify your high school education to qualify. Try to get certified copies of your transcript early, so you have plenty of time to meet the deadline.
Although there are scholarship opportunities that aren’t merit-based, it’s valuable to take the SAT or ACT standardized tests in case it’s a scholarship qualification.
Your scholarship essay is what will bring attention to your application out of the pool of applicants. That’s why it’s important to craft a stand out piece that attests to your experience, adheres to the scholarship guidelines and most importantly, highlights your true personality.
Letters of recommendation are a true judgement of your character—something that can’t be revealed through your test scores or transcript. Reach out to former teachers, counselors or bosses, so that they can speak to your qualifications. You may also want to provide them with a resume that outlines your achievements and goals as well.
 

Native American Scholarships

Instructions: Click through the dropdowns below to select if you're Native American or Alaska Native, then sort by your field of study, award amount and if you qualify for need-based aid.

Hit the Books Scholarship

Amount: $500

Deadline: August 25, 2018

Students who are between the ages of 18 and 25 enrolled in an accredited university are eligible to apply. Winners will be selected based on a 500-word essay about the importance of education.

Council of Energy Resource Tribes (CERT) Scholarships

Amount: Varies

Deadline: September 15, 2018

The CERT Scholarship Program was created to meet the unforeseen needs of American Indian college students. The scholarship awards may be used for books, living expenses, and other non-financial aid needs.

Smithsonian Institution James E. Webb Internship

Amount: $6,000

Deadline:

Scholarships support the increase of underrepresented minority groups in management of cultural and scientific organizations. Students must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program in the field of business or public administration.

UMC Journey Toward Ordained Ministry

Amount: $5,000

Deadline:

Undergraduate or graduate level students of a minority group can apply. Students must be pursuing ordained ministry with at a minimum of a two year membership with United Methodist Church (UMC).

CIRI Foundation Fellowships

Amount: $250

Deadline:

Qualified candidates are CIRI original enrollees or direct lineal descendants. Students must have a GPA of 2.5 or higher with a desire to perform and transmit the literary, visual and performing arts of Alaska Natives.

Cherokee Nation College Resource Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

Candidates must demonstrate tribal citizenship in the Cherokee Nation. The scholarship is awarded to those who plan to attend or are attending an accredited U.S. institution.

Catching The Dream Program

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

The scholarship assists Native American high school students with their college academic pursuits. All tribes and regions are welcome to apply. Preference is given to those who plan to study engineering, math, science, business, computers and education.

Chickasaw Nation Scholarship Program

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

Chickasaw citizens who are pursuing higher education are eligible for numerous awards. Details for current scholarships and eligibility are listed on the website.

Smithsonian Native American Awards Program

Amount: $6,000

Deadline:

Applicants must be formally or informally affiliated with a Native American tribe or community. Students must be enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student with an interest in learning more about career opportunities related to Native American resources.

Zuni Tribal Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

Students of the Zuni Tribe are eligible for this award. Applicants must be accepted to or enrolled in a college institution.

American Indian Nurse Scholarship Awards

Amount: $1,500

Deadline:

Candidates must be at least 1/4 American Indian and enrolled in a tribe, or able to prove direct tribal ancestry. Candidates must be enrolled an undergraduate or graduate nursing program are eligible.

Native American Seminary

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

Native American students seeking a degree at a University Senate approved seminary are eligible to apply. Candidates must have a minimum of a 3 year membership in the UMC (United Methodist Church).

Wah-Tiah-Kah Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

Scholarships are granted through the Osage Minerals Council for the study of petroleum related subjects. Students must be of Osage Indian blood.

American Indian Services Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

Students enrolled in their undergraduate course of study who meet the one-quarter enrolled member of a Federally Recognized Native American Tribe are eligible to apply. Must have a minimum GPA of 2.25 for consideration.

The Tyonek Native Corporation Scholarship and Grant Fund

Amount: Varies

Deadline:

The Tebughna Foundation supports the education of members and/or descendants of the Tyonek Tribe. Students must have graduated high school and be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program. Must maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher.