Native Americans are one of the most underrepresented groups in colleges nationwide. And they face a unique set of obstacles to overcome in pursuing a college degree. According to the Census Bureau, more than one-third of Native Americans live on a reservation. And the outlook for advanced education among Native Americans is very limited. Native American scholarships are more important than ever before.
In addition, Native Americans face an overall poverty rate that is exceedingly higher than the average for the rest of the U.S. population. Despite a strong desire to achieve a degree, many Native Americans are held back by the growing price tag for a college education. Thankfully, there are some exceptional scholarship opportunities available for Native Americans. The following scholarships are for Native American students who want to pursue higher education.
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The American Chemical Society (ACS) Scholars Program offers renewable Native American scholarships of up to $5,000 annually. The scholarships aim to assist undergraduate Native American students pursuing chemistry-related careers.
Opens: December 1, 2023
Deadline: March 1, 2024
To qualify, students must be pursuing an undergraduate degree in one of the following areas: Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, Chemical, Technology, Other Chemistry-related Sciences
- Candidates must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- All applicants must be United States citizens enrolled full-time at an accredited university.
- Native American students also need to demonstrate the need for financial aid according to the FAFSA form.
- Candidates must be: Hispanic or Latino , American Indian or Alaska Native , Native Hawaiian or Native Pacific Islander , African-American/Black, More than one race – (more than one of the above racial categories)
The American Indian Endowed Scholarship (AIES) awards scholarships ranging from $500 to $2,000 annually to Native American students. This scholarship is for students with close cultural and social ties to an American Indian community in Washington. Graduate-level students are prioritiized. However, all applicants are considered. Eligible applicants may get funding for up to five years. But they will need to reapply each year for the scholarship.
Around 15 recipients are chosen each year for the awards. All of them have returned (or plan to return) to work within their tribal communities on behalf of Native American people. Students can use the scholarship to attend many independent and public colleges in the state of Washington. Students in the program may not be pursuing a degree in theology.
Amount: $500 to $2,000
Opens: December 2023
Deadline: March 1, 2024
Must demonstrate financial need based on a completed FAFSA
Meet State residency requirements to receive financial aid
Be a full-time undergraduate or graduate student at a participating college in Washington
Intend to use their degree and training to benefit the Native American community in Washington State
American Indian Endowed Scholarship (AIES) Program
AISES is short for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. This organization provides $2,000 scholarships to qualified Native American students pursuing STEM degrees. The awards are available only to undergraduate Native Americans. The organization also typically sends some winners to the AISES National Conference.
Opens: December 15, 2023
Deadline: April 30, 2024
To qualify for the Native American scholarships, candidates must
- Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
- Be full time undergraduate students.
- In addition, the school they attend must be a two or four-year accredited college in the United States.
- Students must also be members of the AISES and demonstrate strong leadership qualities. Membership is free and open to all high school and college Native American students.
- Be citizens or descendants of a state or federally-recognized Native American or American Indian Tribe
- Provide a copy of their birth certificate with the completed application. They should also be prepared to offer other supporting documents to prove their tribal affiliation and Native American ancestry.
To begin your scholarship application, we ask students first to create a membership with AISES; you may follow the link to start your membership; it is FREE to all High School & College Students: https://aises.site-ym.com/general/register_member_type.asp?%20.
Next, use the OASIS Student Portal (https://webportalapp.com/sp/login/access_oasis) to create a profile with your student information. After creating your profile, you will be matched to an AISES Scholarship you are eligible to apply for based on your field of study.
You may view all AISES scholarships using the following link: https://www.aises.org/students/scholarships
Cobell Scholarships are offered through Indigenous Education, Inc. They are annual, non-renewable, merit-based Native American scholarships. And there are several funding opportunities. They are available to Native American students enrolled in a Federally-recognized Tribe.
There is no minimum GPA requirement. However, IEI does consider GPAs when selecting the best candidates. Candidates selected as finalists will complete a post-acceptance and verification process. These Native American scholarships are competitive, with around 30 percent of applicants chosen to receive funding. Scores are based on several factors, including:
Overall Academic Strength , Academic Rigor, References Responses , Language, Grammar, and Writing Skills ,, Community Engagement, Leadership
Deadline: January 10, 2024
Amount: $5000 to $12,500
- Must be pursuing post-secondary education.
- Must be an enrolled member of a U.S. Federally-Recognized Tribe.
- Must be enrolled in full-time study.
- Must plan to attend or currently be attending any nationally, regionally and industry accredited nonprofit, public, or private institution.
- Must be pursuing a vocational certificate or diploma, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, or professional degree or certificate.
This scholarship is awarded once a year to a Native American college and technical student of any age, any tribe and in any state who has financial need and a minimum GPA of 3.25 based on a 4.0 scale or the equivalent GPA on the scaled used by the applicable educational institution.
Deadline: January 31, 2024
Must be an undergraduate student or a graduate student
Must attend a university, a four-year college, two-year college or a vocational-tech school
Minimum 3.0 GPA
Restricted by race for American Indian/Alaska Native students
Must not be attending high school currently
Questions? Contact the National Vice Chair, American Indians Scholarship at email@example.com.
This scholarship is awarded once a year to one student. A candidate for this scholarship must be enrolled full time at a 2- or 4- year college or university.
Applicants must be Native Americans and proof of American Indian blood is required by letter or proof papers. Students must demonstrate financial need, academic achievement, and have a 3.25 GPA or higher. A recipient may reapply for this scholarship and be considered along with other members of the applicant pool.
Deadline: January 31, 2024
Must attend a university, a four-year college or two-year college
Minimum 3.0 GPA
Restricted by race for American Indian/Alaska Native students
Must study full-time
Questions? Contact the National Vice Chair, Frances Crawford Marvin Scholarship at FCMarvinAmericanIndianScholarship@nsdar.org
These awards are eligible to any member of a state or federal government-recognized tribe or Alaska Native village. The American Indian College Fund was established in 1989. And it is the country’s largest charity supporting Native American students’ educational goals. The American Indian College Fund also provides support and tools to help Native American students once they are enrolled in college.
Open: February 1, 2024
Deadline: May 31, 2024
To receive the need-based Native American scholarships, applicants must
- Be Native Americans, U.S. citizens, and enrolled full-time in an accredited U.S. university.
- Be members of a recognized tribe or descendants of an enrolled tribal member.
- Candidates need to have a minimum GPA of 2.0 or better.
- Native American students can submit a new application for the American Indian College Fund scholarship for each academic year they attend.
AIS offers an excellent scholarship program for undergraduate Native American and Native Alaskan students. The awards are based on up to one-half of a student’s tuition and financial need for the term. Financial assistance is allocated directly to the college or university on the student’s behalf.
Amount: $500 to $2,000
Deadline: February 1st, April 1st, July 1st, and November 1st
Must be enrolled at or planning to enroll at an accredited U.S. college or technical school
Must be a member of a Federally-recognized Alaska Native or American Indian Tribe
Must be an undergraduate student with no more than 150 semester credits
Must be either a full or part-time student taking a minimum of six credits
Must establish and maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.25
Must apply for financial aid by filling out the FAFSA form
All Native American students must submit the online application, a recent photo, proof of heritage, and an essay. A tuition billing statement and official transcripts are also required. If a candidate is approved, they must submit a thank you letter to the specific donor.
The scholarships are typically between, depending on merit and the available funds. Native Americans can receive financial assistance for multiple terms provided they meet ongoing requirements. AIS also awards trade school scholarships.
This next scholarship for Native Americans is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA). The Spectrum Scholarship is designed to join the workforce of librarians and library leaders. It is for students from unrepresented groups, including: Indian/Alaska Natives, Asians , Black/Africans, Hispanic/Latinos, Middle Easterners, North Africans, Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islanders
Deadline: March 1, 2024
- Must be a permanent resident of the United States or Canada.
- Needs to be in attendance at an ALA-accredited graduate program for library studies.
- Must be able to maintain a minimum of two courses per semester. Additionally, recipients are granted a complementary one-year student membership to ALA. Plus, they get free admission to the ALA Annual Conference and formal mentoring opportunities.
The Chahta Foundation connects Choctaw students with scholarships to help with college expenses. Funding comes from the Choctaw Nation, Chahta Foundation, and third-party donors. The foundation has a universal application process. Native students fill out one online form that automatically matches them with the scholarships they qualify for. Students must be willing to participate in specific service requirements to be eligible.
Opens: January 15, 2024
Deadline: March 31, 2024
Amount: $500 to $100,000 depending on the scholarship. Some of them include the following:
The Oklahoma State University Alikchi Scholarship–$100,000: Financial aid for Native students attending OSU Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine
Virginia Leflore Marshall Scholarship–up to $30,000 a year: Financial aid for Choctaw students pursuing specific professional medical degrees
Kaneubbe Scholarship–$5,000: Financial aid for students pursuing master’s or doctorate programs at an accredited college
Batton Scholarship–$1,000: Financial aid for Native students accepted into or attending Southeastern Oklahoma State University
Janie Hampton Dillard Scholarship–$2,500: Financial aid for students attending a two or four-year accredited program in Oklahoma.
Pink Warrior Scholarship–$1,000: Financial aid for students affected by breast cancer. This can be either themselves or immediate family members.
Second Chance Scholarship–$500: Financial aid for non-traditional students going back to college after five years
There are many other Native American scholarships available on the Chahta Foundation site. In general, eligible applicants must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 or higher. However, the requirements do vary. In addition, all students must be enrolled at an accredited U.S. University.
Catching The Dream Native American scholarships are awarded through the CTD foundation and range from $500 to $5,000. They are merit-based and for Native American students who are members of any U.S. tribe. The awards are limited to students who can prove they are at least ¼ Native American. In addition, applicants must be attending or planning to attend an accredited U.S. college full-time.
Amount: $500 to $5,000
Deadline: April 30th, March 15th, and September 30th
- This program is open to American Indians who can provide proof that they are at least one-quarter Indian blood and a member of a U.S. tribe that is federally-recognized, state-recognized, or terminated.
- Applicants must be enrolled or planning to enroll full time at an accredited U.S. college or university as entering freshmen, undergraduate students, graduate students, or Ph.D. candidates.
- Selection is based on merit and potential for improving the lives of Indian people
The Native Vision scholarship is a one-time $5,000 award given to two to four Native American applicants yearly. It is merit-based, and applicants are chosen based on education, leadership, and athletic abilities. The Native American scholarships are offered through the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Deadline: May 28, 2024
- Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA and a record of varying extracurricular activities.
- In addition, they should be heavily involved in their own indigenous communities.
- Be an undergraduate Native American students attending an accredited university or community college.
The AAIF awards twice-yearly scholarships for Native American students. Candidates must be full-time students and maintain a 2.5 out of 4.0 GPA. The Association focuses on Native American and Native Alaskan students who aim to work within their tribal communities.
Deadline: May 31st
To qualify for this scholarship for Native American students, applicants must be enrolled with their respective U.S. or Alaskan Tribe. However, the tribe does not need to be a federally recognized Native American tribe. It can also be an unofficial Native American tribe. Students seeking an Associate’s Degree or higher are eligible. You must be attending an accredited U.S. college or university.
NSCDA stands for The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. Established in 1894, it is a historical preservation society. Each year, the NSCDA offers financial aid through the American Indian Nurse Scholarship Awards. These scholarships for American Indians are intended for Native American students pursuing a nursing or healthcare career. The program continues to award $1,500 each semester if recipients maintain good overall academic standing.
The award is designed to cover tuition and educational expenses for each year the student is enrolled in an accredited nursing program. Participants are expected to work with their population to improve health care after graduation. Many Native American students pursue roles in healthcare organizations populated by American Indians. Others end up working directly on reservations. The program is not only for nursing but for most other healthcare occupations as well.
Amount: $1,500 per semester
Deadline: June 1st and December 1st
Eligible candidates must
- Be at least one-fourth American Indian.
- They are expected to graduate in four years with a BSN degree.
- Students also need a recommendation from a school official to qualify for these Native American scholarships.
The DOE and Bureau of Indian Affairs offer scholarship program for Native Americans. The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Grants are for enrolled tribal members. Applicants must be certified by the Concho Agency to be at least one-fourth degree Cheyenne and Arapaho Indian.
Amount: based on a student’s financial need
Deadline: June 1st, November 1st, and April 1st
To be eligible for these Native American scholarships, students must also apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Undergraduate and graduate students are eligible.
Each year, the Chickasaw Nation offers several Native American scholarships and grants to eligible native students. The financial assistance is available to full and part-time Native American students pursuing a degree at an accredited U.S. University. American Indian students pursuing undergraduate, and graduate degrees can apply. Additionally, doctoral students are eligible. There are no blood restrictions or geographical boundaries. However, all applicants must be Chickasaw and have a valid Chickasaw Nation citizenship card. Awards vary depending on the program you apply to. Some of the grant and scholarship financial aid programs include:
Higher Education Grants: Native American student scholarships for undergraduate or graduate Native American students who maintain a 2.0 GPA or higher.
General Scholarship: For Native American students who take three or more credit hours each term and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA
Governor’s, Lt. Governor’s, and Legislator’s Scholarship: For graduating high school students who have a GPA of 3.85 or higher. You must have been selected as class valedictorian or salutatorian to be eligible.
Holisso Pisachi Education Scholarship, East Central University: For Chickasaw native students seeking an education degree at ECU. The award covers the full cost of tuition, fees, and housing. Employment participation with the Chickasaw Nation Department of Education is required.
Abeka Apisachi Nursing Scholarship, East Central University: For Chickasaw native students seeking a bachelor’s degree in nursing at ECU. The award covers the full cost of tuition, fees, and housing. Employment participation with the Chickasaw Nation Department of Health is required.
Textbook Grant: Textbook reimbursement for Native American students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral programs. Applicants must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA to qualify for this financial aid.
Native American Business Scholars Academy, Oklahoma City University: For Chickasaw students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business at OCU Meinders School of Business. Recipients are awarded full-time tuition funding for eight consecutive semesters. Native students must attend full-time and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher while enrolled to stay eligible for these scholarship programs.
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