Overcoming obstacles to higher education is easier with financial support from scholarships for Native American descendants.
Many organizations have created money-saving scholarships to help tribal members end prejudice and exclusion from the collegiate classroom. It’s essential because over 33 percent of Native Americans live on reservations in poverty. The White House’s 2014 Native Youth Report found that only two-thirds of Native Americans graduate high school. Of those graduates, approximately 5 percent proceed to four-year colleges. In comparison to other minorities, Native Americans are at the greatest risk for under-performance and dropping out.
But that doesn’t mean your future is set in stone. Whether you belong to Cherokee, Pueblo, Apache, Iroquois, Pawnee, or another tribe, professional advancement can be within reach. The following are just 20 of the Native American scholarships available to help you beat the odds in college.
Reviewing the Top Scholarships for Native American Descendants
1. AISES A.T. Anderson Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: May 2nd
The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) awards the A.T. Anderson Memorial Scholarship for $1,000 to undergraduates and $2,000 to graduate students who are majoring in science, technology, engineering, math, and medical disciplines. Eligible Native Americans must attend an accredited four-year college full-time, possess a cumulative GPA above 3.0, belong to a federally recognized tribe, have at least 25 percent Native blood, and apply for AISES membership.
AISES A.T. Anderson Memorial Scholarship
2305 Renard Place Suite 200
Albuquerque, NM 87106
2. Allogan Slagle Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: June 1st
Named for a staff attorney who passed suddenly at 50 from a heart attack, the Allogan Slagle Memorial Scholarship is administered by the Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA) for $1,500. Qualified applicants must be tribal citizens of Native American or Alaskan Native heritage, be enrolling full-time in higher education, seek at least an associate degree, maintain a cumulative GPA over 2.5, and reside in the continental U.S. or Alaska.
Allogan Slagle Memorial Scholarship
966 Hungerford Drive Suite 12-B
Rockville, MD 20850
3. American Indian Services Scholarships
Deadline: February, May, August, and November 15th
Every quarter, the American Indian Services (AIS) Scholarships are granted for $1,000 to $3,000 to Native American students who are enrolling full-time or part-time in degree-granting collegiate or technical programs. Eligible undergraduates must have at least one-quarter Native blood, be enrolled members of federally recognized tribes, hold no more than 150 semester credits, carry a minimum GPA of 2.25, and write a one-page, double-spaced autobiography.
American Indian Services Scholarships
1902 North Canyon Road
Provo, UT 84604
4. BIE Higher Education Scholarship Grant
Deadline: June 30th
Annually, the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) sponsors the Higher Education Scholarship Grant to provide need-based financial assistance to Native American and Alaska Native scholars who are pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree. To qualify, tribal members must attend an accredited U.S. institution, have at least one-quarter Indian blood, demonstrate significant unmet need, maintain full-time enrollment, and submit a FAFSA form.
BIE Higher Education Scholarship Grant
215 Dean A. McGee Suite 610
Oklahoma City, OK 73102
5. Catching the Dream Scholarships
Deadline: March 15th or September 15th
Ranging from $500 to $5,000 apiece, the Catching the Dream Scholarships for Native Americans provide financial support to attend an accredited U.S. college or university full-time for bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral study. Eligible candidates must be 1/4 or higher degree Native American, be enrolled in federally or state recognized tribes, display excellent academic achievement, apply for at least 10 funding sources, clearly communicate career goals, and attach three recommendations.
Catching the Dream Scholarships
8200 Mountain Road NE Suite 203
Albuquerque, NM 87110
6. Daughters of Indian Wars Scholarship
Deadline: June 15th
The Continental Society Daughters of Indian Wars Scholarship is presented yearly for $5,000 to enrolled Native American tribal members who are attending accredited U.S. undergraduate colleges with majors in education or social services. For consideration, applicants must maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA, carry at least eight credits per semester, have career goals serving Native American tribes, and submit a statement of financial need. Preference is given to rising juniors.
Daughters of Indian Wars Scholarship
224 SW Landmark Circle
Geronimo, OK 73543
7. Frances Crawford Marvin Scholarship
Deadline: February 15th
Offering up to $4,000, the Frances Crawford Marvin Scholarship is a one-time award bestowed by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) to Native American students who are enrolling full-time at accredited two- or four-year colleges. Accepted applicants must have financial need, a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25, and at least one-fourth Indian blood. Other Native American scholarships include the Anne Trevarthen Memorial Scholarship and DAR American Indian Scholarship.
Frances Crawford Marvin Scholarship
1776 D Street NW
Washington, DC 20006
8. Full Circle Scholarship Program
Deadline: May 31st
Sponsored by the American Indian College Fund (AICF), the Full Circle Scholarship Program is hosted every spring to award $1,000 for multiple Native American or Alaska Native students who are pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees at tribal or non-tribal, non-profit colleges. Eligibility criteria mandate holding U.S. citizenship, maintaining full-time enrollment, being registered in federal or state recognized tribes, achieving a minimum 2.0 GPA, and submitting a financial needs analysis form.
Full Circle Scholarship Program
8333 Greenwood Blvd.
Denver, CO 80221
9. Hopi Tribe Grants and Scholarship
Deadline: December 1st or July 1st
Enrolled Native American members of the Hopi tribe could receive up to $5,000 by applying for the Hopi Tribe Grants and Scholarship. Twice annually, the selection committee chooses recipients who hold a high school diploma or GED, are admitted at regionally accredited U.S. colleges, demonstrate financial need, maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA, and take at least 12 credits per semester. Applications aren’t complete without an official transcript, letter of admission, and Certification of Indian Blood (CIB).
Hopi Tribe Grants and Scholarship
P.O. Box 123
Kykotsmovi, AZ 86039
10. Indian Health Service Pre-Graduate Scholarship
Deadline: March 28th
Since 1978, the Indian Health Service (IHS) Pre-Graduate Scholarship has been awarded to Native American and Alaska Native students who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree with pre-medicine, pre-dentistry, pre-pharmacy, or similar professional tracks. Eligible students must be members or descendants of federally recognized tribes, be U.S. citizens, have a minimum 2.0 GPA, and intend to serve tribal Indians as healthcare professionals. Recipients are required to sign a two-year service commitment.
Indian Health Service Pre-Graduate Scholarship
5600 Fishers Lane
Rockville, MD 20857
11. Morris K. Udall Undergraduate Scholarships
Deadline: March 2nd
For $7,000 each, the Morris K. Udall Undergraduate Scholarships are distributed to 60 Native Americans and Alaska Natives who are earning a bachelor’s degree for careers in healthcare, conservation, environmental science, or public policy. Qualified applicants must attend accredited U.S. colleges, showcase academic merit, have leadership potential, and exhibit commitment to resolving issues impacting Indian country. Students should contact their school’s Udall faculty representative to learn more.
Morris K. Udall Undergraduate Scholarships
130 South Scott Avenue
Tucson, AZ 85701
12. NativeVision Scholarship Program
Deadline: May 5th
The NativeVision Scholarship Program has provided two annual awards for $5,000 each to outstanding incoming freshmen of Native American descent who are admitted at accredited two-year and four-year colleges. To qualify, young people must be enrolled members of federally recognized tribes, complete a high school diploma or GED, be actively involved in extra-curricular or athletic activities, possess a minimum 3.0 GPA, and demonstrate applied initiative for addressing Native American tribal issues.
NativeVision Scholarship Program
415 North Washington Street
Baltimore, MD 21231
13. Navajo Nation Graduate Fellowship
Deadline: June 25th and November 25th
Valued at $5,000 to $10,000 per year, the Navajo Nation Graduate Fellowship is among the largest Native American scholarships granted to Navajo tribal members who are earning a master’s, education specialist, or doctoral degree at least half-time. Qualified recipients must attend accredited U.S. graduate schools, earn no less than 3.0 GPA, and demonstrate unmet financial need. There’s also the $7,000 Chief Manuelito Scholarship for full-time undergraduate students.
Navajo Nation Graduate Fellowship
P.O. Box 2358
Chinle, AZ 86503
14. Notah Begay III Scholarship
Deadline: March 16th
Named for PGA’s only full-blood Native American golfer, the Notah Begay III Scholarship is awarded through the Albuquerque Community Foundation to gift $1,400 to one or two scholar-athletes planning to enroll full-time at an accredited non-profit U.S. college. Eligible New Mexico high school seniors must have participated in varsity athletics, be at least 25 percent Native American blood, maintain a cumulative GPA over 3.0, and submit a coach recommendation.
Notah Begay III Scholarship
624 Tijeras Avenue NW
Albuquerque, NM 87125
15. Owanah Anderson Scholarship
Deadline: June 1st
Another funding option from the Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA) is the Owanah Anderson Scholarship, which pays out $1,500 for two years. Eligible Native Americans must be female, have junior standing, be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in any major, attend an accredited U.S. institution full-time, and exhibit academic merit. Applicants won’t be considered without writing a maximum three-page essay outlining their tribal leadership goals or dedication to respecting Indigenous ancestors.
Owanah Anderson Scholarship
966 Hungerford Drive Suite 12-B
Rockville, MD 20850
16. Paul Francis Memorial Scholarship
Deadline: April 4th
The American Indian Education Foundation (AIEF) bestows the Paul Francis Memorial Scholarship for $2,500 annually to Native American, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian students who are accepted into an accredited U.S. graduate school. To be eligible, applicants must be pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree, have earned a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.5 or higher, take at least six credits per semester, and be members of federally recognized tribes.
Paul Francis Memorial Scholarship
2401 Eglin Street
Rapid City, SD 57703
17. Pawnee Nation Higher Education Scholarship
Deadline: June 1st or November 1st
Biannually, the Pawnee Nation Higher Education Scholarship awards at least $1,000 to Native American students who have unmet financial need to attend an accredited U.S. higher learning institution full-time or part-time. Interested applicants must belong to the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, have at least one-fourth Indian blood, satisfy all Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs requirements, be pursuing an associate or bachelor’s degree, and submit a letter of intent.
Pawnee Nation Higher Education Scholarship
657 Harrison Street
Pawnee, OK 74058
18. SAA Scholarships for Native Americans
Deadline: December 15th
Established in 1998, the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) Scholarships for Native Americans are distributed for $5,000 to $10,000 to all Indigenous peoples, including Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians, who are pursuing an archaeology major at any accredited institution worldwide. Eligible undergraduate or graduate scholars must have unmet financial need to achieve their training goals for the preservation of Native American artifacts. Funding can cover tuition, housing, books, or research.
SAA Scholarships for Native Americans
1111 14th Street NW Suite 800
Washington, DC 20005
19. Truman D. Picard Scholarship Fund
Deadline: January 11th
Sponsored by the Intertribal Timber Council (ITC), the Truman D. Picard Scholarship Fund bestows $2,000 to $2,500 yearly to graduating high school seniors or college students of Native American or Alaska Native descent who are pursuing higher education in natural resources. Acceptable majors include forestry, environmental science, conservation, biology, and agriculture. Entrants must submit a resume, three signed references, proof of enrollment, official transcripts, and financial need analysis.
Truman D. Picard Scholarship Fund
1112 NE 21st Avenue Suite 4
Portland, OR 97232
20. Wells Fargo American Indian Scholarship
Deadline: May 1st
Located in Albuquerque, the American Indian Graduate Center gifts the Wells Fargo American Indian Scholarship for $2,500 to two rising undergraduates of Native American heritage who are majoring in business-related disciplines for banking, gaming operations, resort management, accounting, or technology careers. Qualified juniors and seniors must attend accredited U.S. institutions, possess a minimum GPA of 3.0, exhibit financial need, and submit a Tribal Eligibility Certificate (TEC).
Wells Fargo American Indian Scholarship
3701 San Mateo NE Suite 200
Albuquerque, NM 87110
Gaining enough funding to afford college tuition is a pressing problem for many students, especially those from Native American tribes. Scholarships are a superior alternative to loans because they’re free and don’t come with strict repayment requirements. Financial aid options targeting students with Native American ancestry are growing, so see if you qualify. Having at least one-fourth Native blood is generally what it takes to win. Request a Certificate of Indian Blood (CIB) from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to better understand your heritage. Then, start applying for these 20 great scholarships for Native Americans.
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This concludes our coverage of the best scholarships for Native American descendants.