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Learn: Colleges & Scholarships

We receive many requests from students and parents looking for stories and news about Native American education, tribal colleges and financial aid. Read more:

  • Native American Tribal Colleges and Universities
  • Scholarships
  • Internships, Fellowships, and Summer Programs
  • College Preparation

Native American Tribal Colleges and Universities
There are over 30 federally recognized tribal colleges and universities in the United States. Located mainly in the Midwest and Southwest, tribal colleges and universities service approximately 30,000 full- and part-time students. They offer vocational certificate programs and two-year associate degrees in over 200 disciplines with some even providing a bachelor's and master's degree.

Tribal colleges and universities are both integral and essential to their communities. They are often the only postsecondary institutions within some of our nation's most rural areas. Tribal colleges and universities serve a variety of people, from young adults to senior citizens, American Indians to non-American Indians.

To see the locations and get more information on these colleges and universities visit:

American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC)
The AIHEC is an informal collaboration among member colleges and represents 34 colleges in the United States and one Canadian institution. AIHEC’s mission is to support the work of these colleges and the national movement for tribal self-determination.

Tribal College Journal (TCJ)
TCJ is a culture-based publication that addresses subjects important to the future of American Indian and Alaska Native communities. The site also provides links to jobs, scholarships, fellowships, and internships.

Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)
BIE’s mission is to provide quality education opportunities from early childhood through life in accordance with a tribe’s needs for cultural and economic well-being, in keeping with the wide diversity of Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages as distinct cultural and governmental entities.

Military.com - Military Network
Military.com is the largest online military destination, offering free resources to serve, connect, and inform the 30 million Americans with military affinity. Links to colleges, scholarships, benefits, and programs are supported by the site.

We receive many requests for scholarship information and financial aid. Please visit the following websites to learn about scholarship opportunities, financial aid, application processes, testing and admissions. The following listing provides only a limited number of the scholarship opportunities available to Native Americans.  In addition to the scholarships listed below, students are encouraged to research scholarships for ethnic minorities and opportunities available through your tribe, regional tribal organization, field of study, college, or university.

General Scholarships

American Indian Education Foundation (AIEF)
The AIEF program is one of the United States’ largest grantors of scholarships to Native Americans. In addition, students are mentored and supported throughout the year, which makes a dramatic difference in their success rates.

Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA)
AAIA has a variety of scholarship programs for graduate and undergraduate students. All scholarships are for students who are from federally recognized tribes and who are at least 1/4 Indian blood unless otherwise stated.

Catching the Dream (CTD)
CTD provides scholarship assistance for students who demonstrate academic achievement, clearly defined goals, leadership, the determination to succeed, and the desire to return to their communities and help others to realize their dreams.

Daughters of the American Revolution American Indian Scholarship
This scholarship is intended to help Native American students of any age, any tribe and in any state striving to get an education. All awards are judged based on financial need and academic achievement.

International Order of the King’s Daughters and Sons Scholarship
The Order offers scholarships for technical, vocational or college studies with no restriction as to Tribal affiliation or Indian blood quantum. A student must personally request information concerning requirements and application forms.

NABI Foundation Scholarships
The NABI Foundation is committed to supporting Native American youth by implementing programs that encourage higher education, sports, health & wellness and community building.  Scholarships are open to past or present NABI athletes only.

National Indian Education Association Scholarships
Awarded to post-secondary American Indian, Alaskan Native, or Native Hawaiian (AI/AN/NH) students. Nominees must demonstrate leadership qualities, maintain high academic achievement, serve as a role model for other students, and show creativity in commitment in the following areas: 1) promote an understanding and an appreciation of AI/AN/NH culture in an educational setting; 2) demonstrate positive, active leadership in student affairs; 3) demonstrate and/or encourage student involvement in educational or community activities; and/or 4) achieve his or her educational goals and objectives.

Native Vision
Native Vision will award two scholarships to Native youth entering their first year of college.

Young Native Writers Contest
The Young Native Writers Essay Contest is open to Native American high school students currently enrolled in grades 9-12. All students participating in the Young Native Writers Essay Contest should have a significant and current relationship with a Native American tribal community. 

Scholarships Based on Field of Study

Intertribal Timber Council
This webpage provides a listing of various scholarship opportunities that would be of interest to individuals preparing for a career in natural resources.

Tribal Lands Environmental Science Scholarship Program
This program enables Native Americans to work for the environmental protection of tribal lands by assisting them in their pursuit of environmental science degrees. Full-time junior, senior, and graduate students majoring in an environmental discipline are eligible to compete for the scholarships.

Continental Society Daughters of Indian Wars
This scholarship is open to certified tribal members who plan to work on a reservation in the field of Education or Social Service.

Native American Finance Officers Association Scholarship (NAFOA)
This scholarship program assists Native American and Alaska Native students working toward a degree within a financially related field.

Native American Journalists Association (NAJA)
Each year NAJA offers scholarships ranging from $500-$5,000 to Native American students pursuing journalism degrees at a higher learning institution. To apply, students must be current paid members.

Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Sciences (SACNAS)
SACNAS is a society of scientists dedicated to fostering the success of Hispanic/Chicano and Native American scientists—from college students to professionals—to attain advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership. 

Native American Sciences Initiative Annual Scholarship Program
Annual scholarships are awarded to students who have demonstrated leadership, academic achievement, and an interest in a science career. Preference is given to Native American students who are college-bound high school seniors attending a Colorado high school, or undergraduates who attend a Colorado college or university.

Society of American Archeology Native American Scholarships
The Native American Scholarships Fund is an endowment established to foster a sense of shared purpose and positive interaction between archaeologists and Native Americans.

Indian Health Services (IHS) Scholarships
The mission of IHS is to raise the physical, mental, social and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level. The IHS Scholarship Program offers three scholarships to help qualified American Indian and Alaska Native candidates move forward with their education and pursue careers in a health care profession.

Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation
The Udall Foundation seeks sophomore and junior level college students who are future leaders committed to careers related to the environment, tribal public policy, or Native American health care.

American Indian Science & Engineering Society (AISES)
This site contains information on AISES programs, scholarships, and membership for students, teachers, parents, and employers.

American Indian Library Association (AILA)
The purpose of the AILA Library School Scholarship shall be to provide tuition to an American Indian individual who lives and works in the American Indian community, and who is enrolled, or has been accepted and will enroll, in a master's degree program at a university with a library and/or information sciences program accredited by the American Library Association.

Grants and Tuition Waivers

College Tuition Waivers for Native American Students
Many states have enacted laws providing for scholarships, tuition waivers, or grant programs for Native Americans.  Most of the states require that students be residents of the state prior to enrolling in a state college/university and/or be a member of a tribe from that state.  Students should check with the colleges they are interested in to see if Native American scholarships or tuition waivers are offered.

BIE Higher Education Grant Program-Scholarship Information Packet
The purpose of the BIE's Higher Education Grant Program is to provide supplemental financial assistance to the eligible American Indian/Alaska Native scholar entering college seeking a baccalaureate degree.

Native American Education Grant
For Alaska Natives and Native Americans pursuing full-time post-secondary education. Preference is given to members of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations. Native American students from all faith traditions are encouraged to apply.

Humbolt State University Grant Listings
Grants are funds made available by the federal and state governments and universities based on a student's financial need and, like scholarships, do not need to be repaid. By filing the FAFSA, you are automatically considered for grants.

Job Opportunities

Student Jobs
A portal to federal job opportunities for students in high school, college, or graduate school.

Loan for Service Program
The American Indian Graduate Center, Inc. (AIGC) Loan for Service program is a Bureau of Indian Education funded financial aid opportunity administered by AIGC for full-time American Indian and Alaska Native graduate and professional degree students. Part or all of the loan repayment may be cancelled if the recipient accepts employment with the BIA/BIE or tribal employment.

Scholarship Listings

Scholarship Listings from National Indian Education Association
Provides a comprehensive listing of scholarships available to Native American students.

University of Miami – American Indian Scholarships
Provides a listing of college scholarships available to American Indian students.  Scholarships are not specific to students attending the University of Miami.

American Indian Higher Education Consortium Scholarship and Internship Page
The American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) is a support network of Tribal Colleges and Universities that works to influence federal policies on American Indian higher education.  This webpage lists scholarships and internship opportunities that may be of interest to American Indian students.

Sources of Financial Aid Available to American Indian Students
New Mexico State University's Indian Resource Development Program publishes a booklet entitled Sources of Financial Aid Available to American Indian Students. The booklet is free to download; a hard copy costs $4 for postage and handling.

This award-winning site has grown into the most comprehensive source of student financial aid information, advice and tools – on or off the web. This page provides information about financial aid for Native American students.

Paying for College
A compilation of resources for Native American students seeking to attend college.  Topics include minority, ethnicity, and American Indian scholarships; selected tribe specific scholarships and financial aid; U.S. colleges and universities offering in-state tuition and tuition waivers; a listing of tribal colleges and universities; and tips, suggested websites, and book recommendations.

Center for Native American Youth
Here you can find information on a wide range of health and educational opportunities and programs focused on Native American youth, including scholarships, internships, camps, youth commissions and organizations, among other information.

American Indian College Fund
Provides scholarships for American Indian college students and supports America's tribally controlled colleges and universities.

The Scholarship Page
Provides information about various scholarships. Students take the responsibility of requesting more information from the company or organization sponsoring each scholarship.

College Scholarship Search & Financial Aid Information Resource
Scholarships.com is a free college scholarship search and financial aid information resource, connecting students and parents with college funding opportunities. Search results include scholarship summaries and a custom application request letter.

Internships, Fellowships, and Summer Programs

Association of American Indian Physicians
The Association of American Indian Physicians sponsors the Patty Iron Cloud National Native American Youth Initiative (NNAYI).  This initiative offers intense academic enrichment and reinforcement programs designed to better prepare American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) high school students to remain in the academic pipeline and pursue a career in the health professions and/or biomedical research. The Association of American Indian Physicians will select 60 AI/AN high school students and 12 counselors to attend the Patty Iron Cloud NNAYI Program held each summer in Washington DC. Under “Our Programs,” see “Student Programs,” for further information and applications.

Native American Youth Entrepreneur Camp (NAYEC)
NAYEC teaches high-school juniors, seniors, and recent graduates the basics of economics, computer skills, and business-plan preparation through activities that lead to personal and professional development.

American Indian Summer Institute in Earth System Science (AISIESS)
The American Indian Summer Institute in Earth System Science is a free two-week residential summer program for Native high school students currently in grades 8-11. Participants will conduct field research and camp out on the La Jolla Indian Reservation, then travel back to the beautiful UC Irvine campus to experience dorm life while interacting with professors, college students and invited American Indian community members to create poster presentations relating to tribal environmental issues. This program aims to address the critical need for Earth and Environmental Science professionals within tribal communities. 

Native American and Pacific Islander Research Experience (NAPIRE) Program
With funding from the National Science Foundation, the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) NAPIRE program provides a unique, intensive opportunity for field research to undergraduate students from the United States and the Pacific Islands. Participants will also have the opportunity to interact with indigenous groups of Central America, allowing a first-hand look at the role of Native Peoples in tropical forest conservation.

Native American State University of New York (SUNY) Fredonia’s Directory of Native American Internships
Compiled by the Native American SUNY: Western Consortium, this resource lists internships, fellowships and cooperative learning experiences to enhance Native American students’ knowledge, skills and abilities.

Pre-Law Summer Institute (PLSI)
PLSI is an intensive two-month program which prepares American Indian and Alaska Native individuals for the rigors of law school by essentially replicating the first semester of law school. There are no tuition or other charges to qualified participants to attend the Institute, and the PLSI provides a modest living allowance when funds permit.

Native American Political Leadership Program (NAPLP)
NAPLP is a full scholarship program designed to give Native American undergraduates an incredible educational opportunity in the nation’s capital. Partnering with Semester In Washington Politics, NAPLP students take classes at George Washington University, participate in hands-on internships and interact with political leaders and policymakers. NAPLP includes a series of seminars devoted to public policy issues affecting Native American communities.

Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Congressional Internship Program
The Udall Foundation provides a ten-week summer internship in Washington, D.C., for Native American and Alaska Native students who wish to learn more about the federal government and issues affecting Indian Country.  Interns work in congressional and agency offices where they have opportunities to research legislative issues important to tribal communities, network with key public officials and tribal advocacy groups, experience an insider's view of the federal government, and enhance their understanding of nation-building and tribal self-governance.

Washington Internships for Native Students
The Washington Internships for Native Students program offers students of sovereign American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian (AI/AN/NH) nations the opportunity to build leadership skills while living, studying, and interning in Washington, DC. Participating students will gain professional work experience through interning at a federal agency or private firm, take courses focusing on Native American public policy concerns, and enjoy engaging social and cultural extra-curricular activities.

National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Internship
The Internship Program provides educational opportunities for students interested in the museum profession and related fields. Interns complete projects using the resources of the NMAI and other Smithsonian offices. Internships are an opportunity for students to learn about the museum’s collections, exhibitions, programs, and methodologies, and to meet professionals in the museum field.

Smithsonian Native American Awards Program 
Appointments are offered to Native American students, who are formally or informally related to a Native American community, to pursue internship projects, independent research, or museum activities related to Native American topics and using Native American resources at the Smithsonian. Appointments are spent in residence at the Institution's facilities under the supervision of Smithsonian research and professional staff members. Appointments of 10 weeks are available to undergraduate or graduate students, and include stipends and a travel allowance.

Argonne National Laboratory and the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development Energy Resource Development Tribal Internship Program
The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, a major research center, is pleased to announce a unique summer internship program for American Indian and Native Alaska (AI/NA) college students. Potential research arenas are focused on energy resource development, both renewable and non-renewable, and environmental evaluation and analysis of potential impacts from energy resource development activities.

Tribal Energy Program Summer Internship Program
Current college upper-classmen and graduate students, who are familiar with Native American culture and tribal issues, are needed to support the Tribal Energy Program efforts with technical project tasks.  Interactions will be with Sandia’s renewable energy staff, Native American tribes interested in renewable systems and Sandia’s American Indian Outreach Committee.  Travel is required, including field visits to renewable energy projects.

NASA Tribal Colleges and University Project – Native American Internships
This summer internship project provides Native American students with opportunities to gain hands-on experience in a NASA-related field of study and to explore potential federal service with NASA. The intern is paired with a mentor from one of the 10 NASA centers' science or engineering laboratories for up to 10 weeks. Also visit the NASA One Stop Shopping Initiative for a central location to view and apply for all NASA internships, fellowships, and scholarship opportunities. 

U.S. Geological Survey Student Interns in Support of Native American Relations Program
The goal of this program is to encourage students to pursue careers in geological, biological, hydrological, geographical, geospatial information management, or related sciences that may be helpful in natural resources management for Native American Tribes. Applicants are not required to be Native American; the USGS considers any research proposal that potentially benefits American Indian or Alaska Native governments. Students who are interested in participating in this internship opportunity should review the USGS projects described in the series of annual reports on the Web at http://www.usgs.gov/indian/reports/. The most recent published reports will provide examples of potential opportunities.

American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Internship Program
The AISES Internship Program provides students with applied work experience and an opportunity to explore career options through ten-week summer positions with partner agencies. Partner agencies may include: ASRC Federal Holding Company, AMERIND Risk Management Corporation, Bonneville Power Administration, and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The AISES internship program also promotes advanced study to the graduate level and assists students in developing professional networks.

National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Fellowships/Internships
An internship with NCAI offers a unique opportunity for young leaders throughout Indian Country to be on the front lines of legislative action and policy development from within the oldest, largest, and most representative organization of tribal governments.

Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF)
Bearing the Presidential moniker, the PMF program is a flagship leadership development program at the entry level for advanced degree candidates. The program is designed to develop a cadre of potential government leaders. It provides some sustenance during the first years of employment and encourages development of leadership capabilities.

American Indian Graduate Center, Inc. Fellowship Program
The American Indian Graduate Center, Inc. (AIGC) announced the availability of graduate fellowships for American Indian and Alaska Native students from federally recognized United States tribes.  You do not have to be enrolled in a graduate program at the time of application.

Christopher B. Duro Fellowship
The Christopher B. Duro Fellowship is a merit and need-based fellowship for Native students pursuing graduate study to help the advancement of Native communities. Students who are chosen to be Duro Fellows will be eligible for up to $25,000 per year, based on need and will be required to perform community service hours with the Southern California Tribal Education Institute and publish a scholarly article. Preference will be given to first-generation Native graduate students.

College Preparation

Federal Student Aid
The U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs are the largest source of student aid in America , providing nearly 70% of all student financial aid.

Getting into College Guidelines and Scholarship Directory
This guide, developed by the American Indian Education Foundation, provides tools for success for high school seniors, families, counselors, and others. 

Free Application for Federal Student Aid, U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education offers a variety of student financial aid programs. Descriptions of the programs are provided on the site, along with the application form.

The College Board
A not for profit membership association founded in 1900 whose mission is to connect student to college success and opportunity. Search the free database of over 2,300 scholarships.

The Princeton Review
The Princeton Review helps students, parents, and educators deal with the complex process of admissions to college and graduate school. A resource section for scholarships includes tips and a database.

GoCollege - The Collegiate Websource
GoCollege is dedicated to furthering educational opportunities for the youth of America, and enables you to search for colleges, scholarships, distance learning, testing, and general information.

SLM (SallieMae) - Wiredscholar, the Planning for College Destination
Sallie Mae, Inc. maintains this site in an attempt to provide you with comprehensive information on planning and paying for college.

ACT Assessment
ACT is America 's most widely accepted college entrance exam and is designed to assess high school students' general educational development and their ability to complete college-level work. ACT also provides educational and career planning for students and teachers at every level.

Peterson's Education Portal
Peterson’s is a leading provider of education information and advice, with books and online resources focusing on education search, test preparation, and financial aid. Its Website offers searchable databases and interactive tools for contacting educational institutions, online practice tests and instruction, and planning tools for securing financial aid.

CollegeNET, Inc. provides customized Internet admissions applications built for college and university programs, as well as Internet links to financial aid information.

The Center for Native American Youth Email List
The Center for Native American Youth has created a Native youth email sign-up on the front page of their website. By entering an email address, youth will receive up to date information about internships, scholarships, and other opportunities. Please sign up to discover the great opportunities that are available for Native youth!



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