By Tracy Eisenberg
Published January 2016
Welcome to our ranking of the 20 Best Deals on Colleges for Native American Studies. In the following list, we selected small colleges with a lower net price than similar institutions of this size and academic focus. We awarded points based on the presence of a well-rounded Native American studies curriculum, field-related internships, scholarship options, and any additional special features that add value to this degree. The 20 colleges featured below scored the highest among institutions with a net price (per College Navigator) of $30,000 USD or less. The following will serve as a guide for students who are seeking the best deal for a higher education in Native American Studies.
#20 - University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, North Dakota
Net Price: $16,238
The oldest and largest university in the state, the University of North Dakota specializes in a growing list of academic areas. The Department of American Indian Studies offers both a major and minor degree in the field. Students take on an intensive course sequence covering subjects including Native cultures, ethnohistory, indigenous identities, and other special topics. The diverse faculty at this university allows for higher education from a wide range of perspectives. UND works with students to keeping tuition affordable, and over 80% of students body financial aid packages including grants, scholarships, or federal-based assistance.
#19 - Haskell Indian Nations University
Net Price: $4,674
Haskell Indian Nations University, a tribal college, was established exclusively for members of federally recognized Native American tribes of the United States. The American Indian Studies program at this university covers both historic and contemporary topics relevant to the Native American world. Just some of these topics include politics, film, treaties, and tribal identity. With an average total enrollment of under 1,000, students of Haskell receive a highly personalized education at a low cost. The tuition is funded entirely by the Bureau of Indian Education, leaving students responsible only for minimal semester fees.
#18 - University of Montana
Net Price: $13,112
The University of Montana is surrounded by the beautiful Montana landscape. The university attracts a large population of top-tier students and faculty from around the globe. UM offers both a major and minor in Native American Studies (NAS), and students on this track receive a liberal arts education focused on past and present issues facing the American Indian. Graduates who live in a region with a large Native American population have found an NAS degree from UM especially beneficial to their careers.
#17 - Northern Arizona University
Net Price: $12,946
Northern Arizona University is a great choice for students who prefer a large and energetic college environment. For those pursuing Native American study, this school offers both a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Applied Indigenous Studies. The curriculum for this degree explores tribal history, cultures, governmental policies, and current conditions of native lands. To assist incoming students with education financing, NAU guarantees a fixed tuition for four years, and reduced tuition for residents of most western U.S. states.
#16 - University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Net Price: $13,940
The University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee is a top-tier research institution located along Lake Michigan. Among its over 180 academic programs is the American Indian Studies (AIS) degree, which covers Native curriculum in areas including anthropology, literature, sociology, history, and more. Students of AIS have access to great resources including the Electa Quinny Institute, a research and services center designed in partnership with the American Indian community. For extracurricular engagement, the American Indian Student Association hosts a range of events to educate the general public about different aspects of the Native experience.
#15 - University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Net Price: $12,840
The University of New Mexico is a public research institution. It offers great opportunities to students seeking a degree in Native American Studies. The Bachelor of Arts in this field offers a broad range of courses that lead up to independent study and specialized internships. The curriculum focus in the Native American Studies program is largely in research methods and sociopolitical concepts of the culture. UNM makes available a wide range of scholarship possibilities for incoming, current, and transfer students.
#14 - Arizona State University
Net Price: $12,191
Arizona State University, of Tempe, is a top-ranking research institution with a large, diverse academic community. ASU offers a Bachelor of Science in American Indian Studies, a unique degree covering the legal policies, economic development, and various cultures of the Native American peoples. Graduates with a BS in this field have gone on to fulfilling careers in government service, casino employment, public administration, the arts, and other industries. In 2015, Fiske Guide to Colleges ranked Arizona State among the top “best buy” public colleges in the nation.
#13 - University of Hawaii at Manoa
Net Price: $12,163
The University of Hawaii, stretching across 350 acres of Mānoa Valley, is a large, diverse institution with a great academic reputation. For over 50 years, the American Studies program has been a highlight of its degree options, offering a well-rounded education in the history, culture, society, and different issues facing the current population. UH Manoa is a diverse campus community, with over 200 school groups and organizations supporting a wide range of special interests and backgrounds. To assist with tuition, UH Manoa provides financial aid advising and scholarship opportunities to incoming and current students.
#12 - The University of Washington
Net Price: $10,374
The University of Washington in Seattle is one of the most competitive and highly respected institutions in the country. Among the world’s best universities, UW was recently ranked No. 15 globally by Washington Monthly and No. 14 by U.S. News and World Report. This college offers a wide spectrum of academic study, one of which is in its Native American Law Center. The objective of this program is to provide an education in Indian law, its conflicts, and what improvements can be made among tribal, federal, and state governments. This center is part of a large network of Native American law scholars, offering more educational and networking opportunities to students.
#11 - Dartmouth College
Hanover, New Hampshire
Net Price: $21,277
Dartmouth College offers both a major and minor in Native American Studies. This course of study has recently expanded to cover relevant subject areas, including Native American ethnology, history, and literature. The mission of this department is to increase the students’ understanding of the experiences, cultural traditions, innovations, and political status of Indian peoples in the United States and Canada. Dartmouth will soon be offering an off-campus learning opportunity at the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
#10 - Fort Lewis College
Net Price: $16,631
Founded in 1911, Fort Lewis College is a small, progressive liberal arts institution in the mountains of Colorado. Students come from 50 states, 17 countries, and 155 American Indian tribes and Native Alaskan villages. The Native American and Indigenous Studies program at this school offers courses based on the experiences of Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians, and First Nations Peoples. Graduates of this department are employed in fields including education, filmmaking, Indian law, community organizing, and more.
#9 - San Diego State University
San Diego, California
Net Price: $10,085
Founded in 1897, San Diego State University continues to be one of the most well-respected public universities in the nation. The American Indian studies degree program courses in the literature, history, art, politics, and other elements of Native culture. Graduates from SDSU with this degree have largely found careers in industries spanning business, education, human services, and education. This institution has an active Native American Student Alliance (NASA), whose mission is to promote the preservation of Native culture through educational events.
#8 - Bacone College
Net Price: $22,764
Bacone College is a small college community with a strong connection to Native American identity. The college’s Division for American Indian Studies offers both Bachelor and Associate of Arts degrees, focusing on the history, culture, and literature of this community. Bacone’s main goal in this department is to give students a well-rounded curriculum that also addresses current issues facing the American Indian population. As of fall 2015, Tribal Languages became an available concentration for this degree. This special program has courses in linguistics, native language, teaching education, and tribal-specific language instruction.
#7 - Northland College
Net Price: $18,858
Northland College, a small academic community on the shore of Lake Superior, is a progressive school founded in 1906. Though the College is largely known for its environmental advocacy and education, the Native American Studies program is an important part of the school's identity. This major’s primary focus is the social, environmental, and economic issues facing the lives of today’s Native communities. Northland also has strong ties with nearby Native communities, and recently received a large grant to build a Native American and Indigenous Culture Center on campus.
#6 - University of California at Berkeley
Net Price: $16,655
The University of California at Berkeley is a selective and internationally respected institution. As its student body reaches nearly 30,000, UCB’s faculty of 1,670 keeps classes small with a student to instructor ratio of 17:1. The Native American Studies program of the Ethnic Studies Department is among the best academic programs available at the school. With an in-depth curriculum taught by scholars in their field, students will learn the unique history, law, language, and culture of Native people. This institution offers financial assistance and scholarships for students of many different levels of need.
#5 - University of Nebraska - Omaha
Net Price: $10,979
For over a century, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) has been a center of excellence in higher education. With the lowest tuition range in the region, this college reports that 60% of its recent alumni have $5,000 or less in loan debt. The Native American Studies (NAS) program at UNO was established in 1992, offering students a diverse education in Native literature, arts, values, spirituality, politics, and other relevant subjects. The University also hosts the Native American Film Festival, a showcase of feature films and documentaries open to the public.
#4 - Augsburg College
Net Price: $18,460
Augsburg College is known for its high-standard academics and commitment to local community service. Students seeking a more personalized education will appreciate the smaller class sizes and student/faculty ratio of 16:1. Augsburg’s American Indian Studies Department offers a multi-disciplined look at the culture, language, literature, arts, religion, and other details of the Native American people. The College also encourages students to participate in the Native American Film series, international internships, and seminars in the field.
#3 - The Evergreen State College
Net Price: $13,630
Established in 1969, The Evergreen State College in Washington State is a small liberal arts institution with an outstanding reputation. This college’s unique curriculum structure gives students the freedom to design their own course of study leading to their degree. One of these courses of study is the Native Program, developed in partnership with Tribal communities in the state of Washington. This growing department offers a combination of both classroom academics and community outreach to the local Native American population. Evergreen makes every attempt to find scholarships and other financial aid to make tuition affordable for all incoming and current students.
#2 - San Francisco State University
San Francisco, California
Net Price: $9,356
San Francisco State University, a large institution in the heart of the city, is committed to combining strong academics with opportunities for personal development. Among the College’s 118 majors is the Bachelor of Arts degree in American Indian Studies (AIS). The primary scope of this degree is to give students an understanding of the complex history, social issues, and politics of the Native American people. Outside of the classroom, students on the AIS track have the chance to work with local community groups. One of these groups is the American Indian Child Resource Center (AICRC), a respected nonprofit that serves Native families in need.
#1 - Colgate University
Hamilton, New York
Net Price: $21,649
Colgate University, in rural upstate New York, is a private institution recently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the 19th best liberal arts college in the country. The Native American Studies program offers an expansive education in the archaeology, history, culture, and geography of this population. Colgate also provides hands-on learning opportunities in Native studies, a few of which include summer research fellowships, archaeology digs at local Native sites, and an Iroquois Study Group. Alumni of Colgate’s Native American Studies department have careers in law, nonprofit leadership, education, and historic preservation efforts.
The preceding is a ranked list of the 20 Best Deals on Colleges for Native American Studies.