Scholarships for Native American Students

Last updated: April 23, 2019

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



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



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.



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


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.


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.

Smithsonian Native American Awards Program

Amount: Varies

Deadline: October 1, 2020

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: October 30, 2020

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

Florida Minority Teacher Education Scholarship Program

Amount: $4,000

Deadline: November 30, 2020

This award is available to Florida resident undergraduate students who are enrolled in a state-approved teacher education program at an eligible Florida institution, and plan to teach in a Florida public school upon graduation. Applicants must submit and essay to be considered.

CIRI Foundation Fellowships

Amount: $250

Deadline: December 1, 2020

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.

CIRI Foundation General Scholarships

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: December 1, 2020

To be eligible, candidates must be a CIRI original enrollee or direct lineal descendant. A high school diploma or GED is required with current enrollment in an undergraduate or graduate degree program. Part-time and full-time students are eligible.

The Tyonek Native Corporation Scholarship and Grant Fund

Amount: Varies

Deadline: December 1, 2020

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.

Girls Who Illustrate Awesomeness Scholarship

Amount: $750

Deadline: December 31, 2020

This is a scholarship opportunity for young women of color who wish to make the world a better place. Students must be enrolled in an accredited university and have a 3.0 GPA for consideration. 500-word essays and/or 5 minute video submissions will be selected for this award.

Native American Seminary

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 1, 2021

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).

United South & Eastern Tribes

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 15, 2021

Students of the 26 member tribes of the United South and Eastern Tribes are eligible for undergraduate scholarships.

AIA/Architects Foundation Diversity Advancement Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 15, 2021

The scholarship aims to support students from a minority race or ethnicity who intend to become architects. US residents who are entering, attending or transferring to a professional program in architecture that is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) are eligible to apply for the scholarship.

American Sociological Association Minority Fellowship Program

Amount: $18,000

Deadline: January 31, 2021

This scholarship awards graduate students pursuing a degree in sociology demonstrating strong mental health research and/or interest. Students will be selected based on intent on research and development in mental health, academic achievement and financial need.

Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program

Amount: $42,000

Deadline: January 31, 2021

Candidates must be U.S. citizens accepted to or enrolled in an undergraduate program related to NOAA mission-related sciences of oceanography, marine biology and maritime archaeology, including all science, engineering and resource management of ocean and coastal areas.. Women and minority candidates are encouraged to apply.

Edward S. Roth Manufacturing Engineering Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: February 1, 2021

Minorities of any group are eligible to apply for this award. Candidates are high school seniors and undergraduate or graduate students. Students must be pursuing a degree in manufacturing engineering at an ABET accredited school.

Council of Energy Resource Tribes (CERT) Scholarships

Amount: Varies

Deadline: February 15, 2021

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.

Hyatt Hotels Fund for Minority Lodging Management Students

Amount: $500 - $7500

Deadline: February 28, 2021

The scholarship is open to minority students who are attending an undergraduate institution in the next academic year. Students must be majoring in hospitality management.

The Lagrant Foundation Graduate Scholarships

Amount: $3,750

Deadline: February 28, 2021

The Lagrant Foundation scholarships aim to increase the number of minorities working in the fields of advertising, marketing, and public relations. Applicants must be a minority student pursuing a masters degree in one of those subjects.

Sovereign Nation Scholarship Fund

Amount: Varies

Deadline: February 28, 2021

This scholarship is for students attending non-tribal colleges. Must be a U.S. citizen, and a full-time student majoring in a health field at an accredited university to apply. Must be registered with a state-recognized tribe or be a descendant of a tribal member.

American Indian Program Scholarship

Amount: $900

Deadline: March 1, 2021

Native Amreinca students involved in the American Indian Nursing Program who have a GPA of 2.75 may apply. Priority given to students who live on the reservation.

Truman D. Picard Scholarship

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: March 1, 2021

Scholarships are awarded to Native Americans of a federally recognized tribe or of the Alaska Native Corporation. Students must be pursuing a career path in natural resources.

Goldman Sachs MBA Fellowship

Amount: $25,000

Deadline: March 29, 2021

The MBA Fellowship is designed to increase interest in financial services among black, hispanic and native american business school students.

Palantir Future Scholarship

Amount: $7,000

Deadline: April 5, 2021

The scholarship celebrates and supports freshmen, sophomore, or junior students from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups majoring in STEM.

Chickasaw Nation Scholarship Program

Amount: Varies

Deadline: September 15, 2021

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

Catching The Dream Program

Amount: Varies

Deadline: September 15, 2021

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.

American Indian Services Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: October 2, 2021

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.