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

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.

EMPOWER Scholarships

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: April 15, 2020

The EMPOWER Scholarship, supports minority students who are pursuing a career in a medical or rehabilitation field.

Great Minds in Stem Scholarship Program

Amount: $500-$10,000

Deadline: April 1, 2020

Applicants must be of Hispanic origin and/or must demonstrate leadership or service within the Hispanic community. Applicant must also be enrolled in an accredited 2 or 4-year undergraduate or graduate program and have at least a 3.0 GPA. Must be pursuing a STEM degree.

The Continental Society Daughters of Indian Wars

Amount: $5,000

Deadline: June 15, 2019

This scholarship is for enrolled tribal members that plan to work with a tribe or nation in the field of Education or Social Service. Must maintain a 3.0 GPA. Financial need will be considered.

Freedom from Religion Foundation Catherine Fahringer Memorial Award - this link is no longer active and I couldn't find the award by searching online

Amount: $2,500

Deadline: June 21, 2019

This award is available to high school students who identify as atheist, agnostic, humanist and/or secular and are the first in their families to attend an accredited two or four-year colleges or university. Preference will be given to students of color, and students who have been in foster care, homeless, undocumented or LGBTQ. Applicants will be chosen based on the strength of their essay.

North Dakota Indian Scholarship

Amount: $2,000

Deadline: June 15, 2019

Applicant must be enrolled members of federally recognized Indian tribe. They must be accepted for admission by a North Dakota institution of higher learning or state vocational education program and be enrolled as full-time students.

American Indian Law School Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: March 15, 2021

The American Indian College Fund will award the second American Indian Law School Scholarship to a first-year student in the 2021-22 Harvard Law School. The scholarship covers all costs of attendance, including tuition for the three-year course of study at Harvard Law School, for one Native student. Th eligible applicants must be an American Indian or Alaska Native who are enrolled tribal members, or who are lineal descendants of an enrolled parent or grandparent.

Goldman Sachs MBA Fellowship

Amount: $25,000

Deadline: January 1, 2020

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

CIRI Foundation Fellowships

Amount: $250

Deadline: December 1, 2019

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: June 15, 2019

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: September 15, 2019

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.

Zuni Tribal Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: October 30, 2019

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

Native American Seminary

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 1, 2020

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).

The Tyonek Native Corporation Scholarship and Grant Fund

Amount: Varies

Deadline: January 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.

Allogan Slagle Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $1,500

Deadline: July 1, 2019

Students must be enrolled or a descendant of a respective tribe, with no blood limitations. Must be a full-time student with a 2.5 GPA for consideration.

American Sociological Association Minority Fellowship Program

Amount: $18,000

Deadline: January 31, 2020

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.

Edward S. Roth Manufacturing Engineering Scholarship

Amount: Varies

Deadline: February 1, 2020

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.