Native American Scholarships & Grants

If you are applying for Native American scholarships, know if you are an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe. Documentation of this may be required. Documentation may be a Certificate of Indian Blood card, an affidavit from a tribal official, birth records or other identification provided to you by a Native American organization.

It is also important to know if your parents are enrolled members of a federally recognized tribe, and their tax and financial information.

If you start early, you will be eligible for the most financial aid. Doing well in high school will also improve your chance of getting into college and receiving financial aid. Colleges like well-rounded students that do well academically, athletically and participate in clubs. Join clubs like National Honor Society to increase your chances of getting a scholarship.

Choose clubs that you are genuinely interested in and are able to devote time to. This will be more beneficial than joining every club. Show you are well rounded and interested in a variety of activities. Keep track of your G.P.A. and begin thinking about which teachers could write a recommendation letter.

Common Types of Financial Aid

The most common forms of financial aid are: scholarships, grants, work study and loans. Scholarships are awarded to students based on merit and do not have to be repaid. Grants are also a form of financial aid that you do not need to repay. Work study positions are when you work at your college or university and the money you earn is paid towards your bill.

Loans need to be repaid, and with interest. It is best to try for scholarships, grants, and work study positions first and if you have to then turn to loans.

Fill Out a FAFSA

A Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a form that you fill out and file with the U.S. Government to determine your financial need. You can start filling out a FAFSA on January first of each year. The deadline for most states is in March, but the sooner you file your FAFSA, the better your chances are for getting financial aid.

When filling out your FAFSA, you will need to have your and your parents’ tax information. It is best to be honest when filling out the FAFSA. Your FAFSA can be submitted online or by paper through the mail. Visit your school’s financial aid office if your financial status changes drastically and they will help you figure out a plan. If you or one of your parents loses a job, or is injured or seriously ill, this could affect how your funding is calculated.

If you are a Native American who was born in Canada, you may be affected by the Jay Treaty. This means that you will be eligible for financial aid as an “eligible non-citizen,” and you will have to talk with your financial aid office and provide any required documentation.

Check Your School’s Financial Aid Scholarship and Grant Offerings

Once you have filled out your FAFSA, it will be easier to find out what scholarships your school offers. Every school offers scholarships to their students. Check your school’s financial aid website and the financial aid office for more information on what scholarships are offered.

Check out Scholarships for Native Americans

There are a lot of scholarships out there. Listed below are some of the scholarships available for Native American students, who are seeking a degree.

Chickasaw Foundation Scholarships

  • Description of the Scholarship: There are many scholarships open through the Chickasaw Foundation
  • How Much: Varies
  • Who Should Apply: Students who are a part of the Chickasaw Nation.
  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • How to Apply: Visit the above website to view all available scholarships, then call (580)421-9030 or email ChickasawFoundation@chickasaw.net for more information about the scholarships or to be placed on a mailing list.

AAAE Scholarship for Native Americans

  • Description of the Scholarship: The Association of Airport Executives provides funding for this scholarship which helps aviation students finish up their education.
  • How Much: $1,000
  • Who Should Apply: College juniors or seniors, and graduate students with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher and are enrolled in an aviation program
  • Application Deadline: March 31st
  • How to Apply: Your school must recommend you for the scholarship and only one Native American student from each school may be nominated. Contact your school’s financial aid office to tell them you would like to be considered. Your school should receive application materials by the middle of February, but if they haven’t received materials by March 1st, they should request all materials from AAAE.

Native American Education Grant

  • Description of the Scholarship: About 50 awards a year are awarded by the Presbyterian Church General Assembly Mission Council to Native American students with all religious backgrounds.
  • How Much: $200-$2,500
  • Who Should Apply: Registered Native Americans undergraduates working on their first degree who are going to school full-time and have a 2.5 grade point average.
  • Application Deadline: Awarded on a funds available basis
  • How to Apply: Students will need to fill out a downloadable application is provided on the given website, provide a tribal ID or letter from their tribe, give financial and academic information. Call 888-728-7228 ext. 5224 or email: finaid@pcusa.org for more information

University of Colorado at Boulder White Antelope Memorial Scholarship

  • Description of the Scholarship: The CU Boulder White Antelope Memorial Scholarship Committee will provide college freshman with the funds they need for their education
  • How Much: $12,000
  • Who Should Apply: Students should be a resident of Colorado, Minnesota, or Wisconsin, enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences at CU Boulder and be a Native American as defined by the American Indian Advocacy Group on the Boulder campus
  • Application Deadline: Check with the committee
  • How to Apply: Apply online through the University of Colorado at Boulder. You can contact the CU Boulder White Antelope Memorial Scholarship Committee at 303-492-5667

Bureau of Indian Education

  • Description of the Scholarship: The Bureau of Indian Education keeps a list of relevant scholarships, fellowships and internships, and forms for financial assistance on their website.
  • How Much: Varies
  • Who Should Apply: Registered Native Americans who are seeking degrees
  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • How to Apply: Go to the website given and view all the scholarships and find out more about what application materials are required for each specific scholarship

Catching The Dream Native American Scholarship Fund

  • Description of the Scholarship: There are three scholarship programs provided by Catching the Dream: The Math, Engineering, Science, Business, Education, and Computers scholarship, The Native American Leadership Education scholarship, and the Tribal Business Management scholarship.
  • How Much: $500-$5,000
  • Who Should Apply: Students should be one quarter or more Native American and be enrolled in a federally recognized tribe. Students should have good grades, high scores on the ACT or SAT, work experience, leadership experience, volunteer experience, extracurricular activities, and a commitment to their tribe. Students should have looked into all other sources of financial aid.
  • Application Deadline: March 15th for Summer School, April 15th for Fall Semester, September 15th for Spring Semester
  • How to Apply: Contact the Native American Scholarship Fund at NScholarsh@aol.com or (505)262-2351 before applying and if you have any questions while applying. Applicants will need to fill out an application and submit supporting materials including a comprehensive essay and letters of recommendation.

American Indian College Fund

  • Description of the Scholarship: The American Indian College Fund is very useful for helping students find great scholarships. They offer a few scholarships through their organization
  • How Much: Varies
  • Who Should Apply: Undergraduate and Graduate Native American students who are in a degree program.
  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • How to Apply: Visit the given website and view each individual scholarship for more information

Smithsonian Native American Awards Program

  • Description of the Scholarship: This is a special fellowship program for students who wish to do an internship at the Smithsonian.
  • How Much: $100 per day for up to 21 days and $500 per week for 3 to 10 weeks.
  • Who Should Apply: Registered Native Americans who want to take on projects on a Native American subject and want to use all the resources available at the Smithsonian Institution.
  • Application Deadline: February 1 for summer, February 1 for fall, and October 1 for spring
  • How to Apply: Visit the given website to find all the application materials and apply online. You can also see a list of past recipients on this site which will help you see what projects people have worked on in the past.

LITA/LSSI Minority Scholarship

  • Description of the Scholarship: The scholarship is provided by the American Library Association’s Library and Information Technology Association for a student in library science who has a particular interest in library automation systems.
  • How Much: $2,500
  • Who Should Apply: A student in an ALA Accredited Master of Library Science (MLS) program who is American Indian or Alaskan native or another minority. Students should be from the U.S. or Canada.
  • Application Deadline: March 1
  • How to Apply: Send in a personal statement regarding library science work, letters of reference, what the student would like to do in the program with particular emphasis on what the student would like to do or has done regarding library automation. Obtain application materials through the ALA/Divisions Scholarship Program

Young Native Writers, Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation, Inc.

  • Description of the Scholarship: This scholarship is provided for by Holland & Knight and the National Museum of the American Indian. It is meant to encourage writing and critical thinking skills in Native American high school students.
  • How Much: $2,500
  • Who Should Apply: Native American high school students with an interest in issues concerning Native Americans today who also enjoy writing. Students must have a significant and current relationship with a Native American tribe.
  • Application Deadline: April 1
  • How to Apply: See the given website for the application materials and the specific writing prompt. The essay is submitted online and is 1200 words. Research is required and it must be all original work. Writers will receive a Certificate of Honor for submitting their work.

Ford Motor Company Tribal Scholarship

  • Description of the Scholarship: This scholarship is provided by the Ford Motor Company. It is meant to help high school seniors achieve their goal of earning a bachelor’s degree.
  • How Much: $5,000
  • Who Should Apply: Registered Native Americans who have at least a 3.0 grade point average and have sophomore standing. Students should be seeking a degree in math, science, engineering, business, teacher training or environmental science. Applicants should have submitted a FAFSA and should demonstrate leadership and commitment to the Native American community.
  • Application Deadline: May 31
  • How to Apply: Contact www.collegefund.org for more information

AISES Google Scholarship:

  • Description of the Scholarship: This scholarship is provided by Google in conjunction with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. This scholarship is meant to defer some of the costs of attending college.
  • How Much: $10,000
  • Who Should Apply: Native American students who have a 3.0 grade point average are encouraged to apply. They should be full time sophomore grade or higher students attending a four year college or university or students who are attending a two year college planning to transfer to a four year college. They must be registered Native Americans and have at least one quarter American Indian blood. They must be working towards a degree in computer science or computer engineering. Applicants should also be members of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. If students win the scholarship, they must maintain high academic performance.
  • Application Deadline: February 15
  • How to Apply: Visit the specified website to access the application. The application should be turned in with transcripts, a personal essay, two letters of recommendation, a resume, proof of tribal enrollment, and current AISES membership. All application materials should be mailed to the address given on the application form.

Lockheed Martin Tribal Scholarship

  • Description of the Scholarship: This scholarship is provided by Lockheed Martin to encourage students to pursue a degree in engineering.
  • How Much: $5,000
  • Who Should Apply: American Indians or Alaska Natives that demonstrate leadership and commitment to their community should apply. They should have demonstrated financial need and exceptional academic achievement. They should be seeking a degree in electrical engineering, computer engineering, computer science, aerospace science, mechanical engineering, or chemical and material engineering. Applicants should have a 2.9 grade point average and be at least sophomores. They should be attending a tribal college and/or a college or university. Good candidates will be willing to do a paid internship with Lockheed Martin.
  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • How to Apply: Visit the Lockheed Martin website to find out more information about where to submit materials.
  • National Indian Education Association: http://www.niea.org/media/scholarships.php

  • Description of the Scholarship: The National Indian Education Association has compiled a great list of scholarships available to Native Americans.
  • How Much: Varies
  • Who Should Apply: Native Americans who are looking to supplement their financial aid for college should apply
  • Application Deadline: Varies
  • How to Apply: The specific requirements for each scholarship varies, so visit the given website to view a list of all the available scholarships.

Look into Other Scholarship Offerings

In addition to looking for scholarships for based on ethnicity, there are a lot of other scholarships based on other factors as well. These scholarships will help supplement your financial aid. There are scholarships based on financial need, academic performance and athletic performance.

There are also special scholarships for students that are the first ones in their families to attend college. Unique scholarships also exist for students that are tall, left-handed or make a duct-tape prom ensemble.

Keep Looking After Starting School

The most popular time to start looking for scholarships is the junior or senior year of high school. This is a great time to start because then you will know how much financial aid you have before starting college. Once you have started college, keep looking for scholarships and financial aid.

More scholarships are constantly available and new ones appear each year. You will need to continue filling out a new FAFSA every year in January-March. This is especially important to do if your financial status has changed at all. Many scholarships and grants are for students in a specific year of school. Even if you have received a full scholarship, there are scholarships and grants that will provide funding for study abroad programs or other special things that you may want to do while in college.

If you would like to go to graduate school, start looking at requirements a couple years before you want to attend. There are scholarships and grants available for graduate school. There are even scholarships available for taking the GRE. It is well worth your time to keep looking for financial aid.

Write Thank You Notes and Keep All Important Information

If you receive a scholarship or grant, congratulations! A really nice thing to do is to formally thank the people that have helped you out. Write a handwritten thank you note and send it to the people behind the scholarship. Figure out the logistics of your financial aid as well. Find out if your financial aid will go straight to the school or if you will be mailed a check.

Make sure that money gets to your school before your bill is due. If you know it won’t, talk to your school about options for delaying payment. Keep track of all the paperwork for your financial aid. This will be important when it comes time to pay taxes. It will also help you maintain a budget.

Paying for school can be very stressful for students and their families. Once you have completed these steps, you will be well on your way to paying for your education!

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8 Responses to Native American Scholarships & Grants

  1. ALYSSA NICOLE HEARON says:

    Please let me know if there are any native american indian scholarships for my daughter Alyssa who has an Cherokee Indian card as her father is part Cherokee Indian

  2. richard c. perez says:

    I have a grandson that is one quater american indian on his fathers side and half mexican on his mothers side that wents to go to the univerty will he be able to recieve help for his tution and what does he have to do?

  3. Brenda Creek says:

    I would like to attend college and I need to know what grants are available for native americans and anything that would me farther my education I lived in n.ga area thank you for any help or information Ms.Creek

  4. Curtis Watters says:

    I need help with finding the right scholarship for school I want to get the best one for my schooling needs does anyone have ideas on how to do this?

  5. Carla Alvarez says:

    I’m a quarter native american on my fathers side and mexican and black i was wondering if id still be eligible for a grant or scholarship.

  6. Anna Hayes says:

    I have a question really, my daughter is native american threw her father side, and he was enrolled with the Hopi and Navaho Tribe in Tx. and then they closed his file because he was adopted. and now he has stopped talking to his daughter for reasons unknown, is my daughter eligible for any funding for collage.

  7. Caren says:

    I wish to apply for grants for my son and he is 50% Native American. We have moved over from London UK and I do not know how to register him as a Native Amwerican in the USA could anyone assist me?
    Thank you

  8. Dorian says:

    My grandmother is 100% Native-American from the Seminole tribe. I have never been registered and nor was my mother. How do apply for financial aid without this and how do I go about getting myself and children registered?

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