A large percentage of Native Americans choose not to attend college either because of financial reasons or other obligations. Scholarships seek to increase the percentage of Native Americans who attend college and encourage Native American college graduates to bring professional skills and education back into the Native American community.
The American Indian College Fund provides scholarships for undergraduate Native Americans who choose to attend a tribal college and additional scholarships for those who choose to attend non-tribal colleges, as well as graduate students. Over 6,000 scholarships are awarded each year. In addition to an online application, applicants must provide a digital photograph and verification of enrollment and tribal ancestry. Individual scholarship amounts vary.
Catching the Dream offers scholarships and grants to Native American students. Formerly known as the Native American Scholarship Fund, this organization offers three different scholarship programs. The Native American Leadership Education program provides scholarships to those seeking a degree in education or school administration to increase the percentage of Indian teachers working in Native American schools. Through the Tribal Business Management program, individuals who pursue degrees in business or a related field and plan to use their skills to improve the development of tribes may be eligible for a scholarship. The third program awards scholarships to students pursuing degrees in math, engineering, science, business, education and computers (MESBEC).
Scholarships are also available through the Society of American Archaeology which seeks to keep positive relationships between the organization and Native American communities. Scholarships range from $4,000 to $10,000. The Native American Undergraduate Archaeology Scholarship provides up to $5,000 to help Native American undergraduate students with tuition, books and any other expenses incurred while attending college. The Native American Graduate Archaeology Scholarship offers up to $10,000 for Native American students pursuing graduate degrees. One scholarship is awarded in each category every year.
The U.S. Bureau of Indian Education offers the Higher Education Grant Program. Students who are members of an Indian tribe or can establish that they are at least a one-quarter degree descendant may apply for a grant. The amount of each grant varies based on an applicant’s financial need. In addition to the Higher Education Grant Program, the Bureau of Indian Education works with the Indian Health Service scholarship program. This scholarship program provides funds for students who are enrolled or preparing to enroll in a program leading to a degree in a health profession. Different scholarships are awarded for students taking preparatory and prerequisite courses, those declaring a major in a pre-graduate field such as pre-medicine and students enrolled in health and allied professions programs.
A Better Chance provides scholarships for minority students, including Native Americans, to attend high quality secondary schools. Interested students complete an online application and, if accepted, continue through a testing and interview process to determine whether or not they will be accepted into the scholarship program. In addition to admission to a high quality secondary school, A Better Chance works with colleges and universities to help students gain admittance and financial aid to help further their education at the post-secondary level.