Native American Scholarships

Find Native American Scholarships

Native American scholarships are available to help pay for college.  Scholarships for Native Americans can be found from sources such as tribal colleges, the Native American tribes’ foundations, and other foundations.   In 2013, American Indian scholarships can include awards such as those by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development.


Association on American Indian Affairs and Scholarships

In the United States, there are 565 federally recognized Native American tribes.  Students who wish to seek Native American scholarships or grants should present a Certificate of Indian Blood (CIB) and belong to one of the federally recognized tribes. For details see the Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA) and for scholarship and award opportunities for Native American students.

Tribal College Scholarship Program

A good place to start seeking information about college grants and scholarships for Native Americans is from the student’s own local tribe and the tribal college.  The first tribal college was created in 1968 by the Navajo Nation.   Tribal colleges are located on Indian reservations in the mainland United States for Native American students to attend. Tribal colleges are fully accredited institutions of higher learning that aim to preserve Native American languages and culture and to also provide higher education with the same academic standards of other colleges in the United States. There are now 30 tribal colleges and more than 30,000 students from more than 250 tribes currently in attendance.

The Tribal College Scholarship Program presents about 6,000 scholarships each scholastic year to Native American students who are studying for acollege degree.   The American Indian College Fund is an excellent place to start when looking for Native American scholarships to help pay for college.

Tribes Offer Help to Pay for College

It is also important to check with your local tribe when looking for a Native American college grant or scholarship. Below is just a small example of how Native American tribes are helping their students pay for college.

Blackfeet Nation Higher Education Grant  – Each year 140 students are awarded $3,500 grants to help pay for undergraduate and graduate school expenses.

The Menominee Nation, in Wisconsin also helps their members to pay for college.  For full details, potential college students who are members of the Memominee Nation should send an e-mail to Renee Mahkimetas, the Research Specialist, at  The Menominee Indian Tribe Adult Vocational Training Program consists of awards from $100 to $2,200 for 50-70 Menominee tribal members who are enrolled in technical college. Higher education grants in the range of $100 to $1,100 are also awarded each year to 136 Menominee members studying for an undergraduate degree.

Faith-Based Scholarships for Native American Students

Look into faith-based grants for Native American college students.  For example, the Presbyterian Church awards several scholarships a year to helpo Native Americans Presbyterians to pay for college.  See their webpage to learn more details.

Native Americans will want to check with their local church or religious organization to find out whether they also offer scholarships for their Native American members to pay for college.

The American Indian Fellowship in Business Scholarship

Full-time Native American business students can receive one of five annual scholarships from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development.  Candidates should either be in their junior or senior year of college or be studying at the graduate level. To be eligible, it is a requirement to attend the award banquet held in September (lodging, ground transportation and airfare from within the United States are provided).  Candidates are also required to submit three separate essays of 250 words each to address the following: (1) their Community Involvement, (2) their Personal Challenges, and (3) their Business Experience (pair or volunteer).   Transcripts and documentation of tribal enrollment is also required.  To request an application, contact 480-545-1298, extension 244 or e-mail  Applications are generally due in early August.  For exact deadlines and full details contact above e-mail.

Financial Aid for Native Americans

For a more complete picture of where to find scholarships, grants, internships, fellowships, and other financial aid opportunities for Native Americans, we recommend the following book:

Financial Aid for Native Americans

Native American students seeking scholarships should also apply for the numerous college grants and scholarships for minorities that are available.  It is best to start by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and continuing the search for relevant college grants and scholarships from there.  With advance planning, you will be able to have help for paying from college thanks to several sources, including college grants, need-based and merit-scholarships, general minority scholarships, and Native American scholarships.