If you are of Native American descent you may be wondering what kind of scholarship programs are available for your higher education. Many institutions offer a wide range of financial aid options including scholarships and grants. However, not many Native Americans understand the extent of these benefits or how to access financial aid for Native American descendants.
To help you with your scholarship search, we’ve put together this article to highlight the best scholarships and grants for Native American descendants, including the organizations and schools that offer financial aid for Native American descendants.
Does FAFSA Help Native American Descendants?
Yes, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) helps Native American students in financial need. However, you must be a US citizen or eligible non-US citizen pursuing a degree or certificate at a college or career school.
The Jay Treaty of 1789 and its subsequent treaties allow Native American descendants born in Canada with at least 50 percent Indian blood to apply for Title IV federal student aid. You can visit the official FAFSA website and find options that suit your financial needs and learning path.
How to Find Financial Aid for Native American Descendants
- Indian Higher Education Grant Program. This grant program provides financial aid for American Indian and Alaska Native students pursuing higher education in accredited universities, colleges, and career schools. However, you must be a Native American enrolled in a federally recognized Native American tribe.
- Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Financial Assistance and Social Services. BIA’s financial aid program assists Native American students through cash assistance for their necessities, including clothing, food, accommodation, and transportation. Eligible students must sign an Individual Self Sufficiency Plan (ISP) with the help of a social services worker, and live in or near an approved service area.
- The American Indian College Fund. The American Indian College Fund is one of the best resources for Native Americans seeking financial aid. The fund provides financial support to thousands of Native American students and tribal colleges. You must be a Native American US citizen and member of a federally recognized tribe with a 2.0 GPA.
- Indian Health Services. IHS targets Native American descendants pursuing undergraduate and graduate degree programs. You must be a member of a federally recognized tribe and major in a health-related program. Upon graduation, you must also agree to a full-time position in clinical practice at their institution.
- All Nations Alliance for Minority Participation. All Nations AMP is an initiative by the National Science Foundation to empower Native American students and other minorities. The program targets students pursuing majors in STEM education and enrolled in 12 credit hours per term. You must also have a 2.5 GPA and belong to a federally recognized tribe.
Financial Aid: The Best Scholarships and Grants for Native American Descendants
|Scholarship or Grant Name||Provider||Amount|
|AAAE Native American Scholarship||American Association of Airport Executives||$1,500|
|Access Scholarship||App Academy||$5,000|
|The AIS Scholarship||American Indian Services||$1,000 – $3,000|
|AISES Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) Scholarship||American Indian Science and Engineering Society||$5,000|
|DAR American Indian Scholarship||Daughters of the American Revolution||$4,000|
|The Diversity Scholarship||American Bus Association||$5,000|
|The Full Circle Scholarship||American Indian College Fund||$15,000|
|Minority Scholarship||Claim Academy||$500 – $1,000|
|New York State Aid to Native Americans||New York State||$1,000 – $2,000|
|Textbook Grant||Chickasaw Nation||$250 – $500|
The Best Financial Aid Resources for Native American Descendants
The list above highlights the best financial aid providers for Alaska Native students and American Indian students pursuing a college education in accredited institutions. However, we understand that detailed information plays a significant role in helping you narrow down suitable financial aid opportunities. Below is an overview of each provider and the financial aid program.
AAAE Native American Scholarship | American Association of Airport Executives
The AAAE Foundation has given out over $5.3 million in scholarships to support higher education institutions, and one of the scholarships is the AAAE Native American scholarship. This scholarship targets students with Native American ancestry pursuing aviation programs in accredited two- or four-year colleges in the US and Canada.
As a recipient, you will receive up to two non-renewable awards, amounting to $1,500. However, you must also have a 3.0 GPA or higher, be financially unstable, and be an active participant in community activities.
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Access Scholarship | App Academy
App Academy is one of the best coding bootcamps in San Francisco, offering a wide range of tech programs. The tuition costs at App Academy range from $17,000 – $22,000, but students can apply for App Academy scholarships, which give access to financially unstable students.
The Access Scholarship is a partnership between App Academy and Facebook to provide $500,000 in tuition aid. You must be female or from an underrepresented community like the American Indian tribes or Alaskan Native community. You must also be in a software engineering program as a full-time or part-time student to be eligible for this scholarship program.
The AIS Scholarship | American Indian Services
The AIS scholarship is specifically for undergraduate Native American students enrolled at an accredited technical institution. You must also be a member of a federally-recognized American Indian or Alaskan Native descendant.
AIS directs qualified applicants to present a 2.5 GPA and above or a 150-semester credit for undergraduate students. Essential documents include a completed FAFSA form, an essay, school transcripts, and proof of heritage.
AISES Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) Scholarship | American Indian Science and Engineering Society
The American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) offers this scholarship to Native American students pursuing careers in aerospace. Both graduate and undergraduate students, veterans, and active-duty spouses in Washington are eligible for this scholarship. Recipients will receive $5,000 in financial support and an additional $5,000 for childcare assistance if applicable.
DAR American Indian Scholarship | Daughters of the American Revolution
This scholarship program is for Native Americans of any age, tribal nation, and state who want to pursue post-secondary education in a college institution. You will receive a $4,000 financial aid award, which is non-renewable. You must present proof of your American Indian heritage and level of financial need. In addition, you must have a 3.5 GPA or higher.
The Diversity Scholarship | American Bus Association
The American Bus Association Foundation offers the Diversity Scholarship to underrepresented students, including Native Americans. ABA aims to increase representation in management and operations careers in the tourism, transportation, and travel industry.
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Qualified students must be pursuing undergraduate or graduate majors in the travel and tourism industry, and you must prove financial instability. You must also write a 500-word essay explaining how you intend to grow within the industry. An impartial committee of educators selects the winners based on academic achievement and financial need.
The Full Circle Scholarship | American Indian College Fund
The American Indian College Fund offers the Full Circle Scholarship to over 600 deserving students pursing a college education. Students receive between $5,000 and $15,000 for full-time undergraduate and graduate studies at an accredited tribal college or university.
You must be a registered member of a federal or state-recognized tribe or a descendant of a tribal member with Indian ancestry. Recipients must have a 2.0 GPA or higher, depending on the tribal institution.
Minority Scholarship | Claim Academy
The Minority Scholarship at Claim Academy prioritizes ethnic groups and underrepresented communities like Native Americans. Claim Academy aims to broaden the software engineering industry by allowing more students to pursue this career path. High school graduates and GED recipients are eligible for a $1,000 College Upgrade Scholarship or a $500 Veteran Scholarship.
New York State Aid to Native Americans | New York State
The Aid to Native Americans program offers financial aid to members and descendants of a New York State tribe. Full-time students pursuing associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees can receive up to $2,000. You must produce your high school graduation certificate, tribal certification form, and an acceptance letter from an accredited college or university.
Textbook Grant | Chickasaw Nation
The Chickasaw Nation is a federally recognized Native American tribe in Oklahoma. The tribe offers numerous scholarships and grants that accommodate Native American descendants at different education levels.
The Textbook Grant supports undergraduate and graduate school students in meeting their textbook needs. Students enrolled in three to 11 credit hours programs receive $250 per term, and those in 12 credit hours or more receive $500 per term. You will receive a loaded Textbook Visa Card, and you must have a 2.0 GPA or higher.
Schools That Offer Financial Aid for Native American Descendants
App Academy is an acclaimed coding bootcamp that offers web development, software engineering, and other tech courses. Students pursue 16-week or 24-week programs to prepare for tech careers. If you’re applying to App Academy, you can also apply for one of the many scholarships that allow Indigenous students to apply at a discounted rate.
Connors State College
Connors State College is a successful community college in Warner and Muskogee, Oklahoma. Whether you’re an incoming freshman or a continuing college student, Connor State College offers Oklahoman Tribal Scholarships and national scholarship opportunities that cater to your financial needs.
Fort Lewis College
Fort Lewis in Durango, Colorado, is also an impressive institution for Native American descendants. The most popular program is the Native American tuition waiver, allowing Alaska Native and American Indian students to attend FLC tuition-free.
The scholarship accommodates undergraduate and graduate students who are tribal members or descendants. The scholarship only covers tuition costs, and you will be responsible for additional costs such as textbooks and living expenses.
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Maryville University prioritizes funding for Native Americans to help improve the employment rate for this community and curb poverty within Native American communities. The university offers various scholarships and grants, including the AIS Scholarship, Association of Indian Affairs Scholarship, and the Continental Society Daughters of Indian Wars, Inc. Scholarship.
Montana State University
MSU enrolls over 800 Native American students, according to the official school website. The university emphasizes support for Native American communities by providing a list of benefits to its students, including scholarships and grants. You can apply for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship, Gates Millennium Scholarship, or the APSA Minority Fellow Program.
Should You Apply for Native American Descendants Financial Aid?
Yes, financial aid for Native American descendants allows you to access affordable education at distinguished American colleges and universities. Most of the scholarships and grants cover a large percentage of your tuition, allowing you to focus on your studies. You can also explore scholarships for coding bootcamps as most of these bootcamps prioritize Indigenous students.
Financial Aid for Native American Descendants FAQ
Yes, Native Americans are US citizens, meaning they are eligible for financial aid. You can explore federal government websites, tribal community resources, and educational institutions for scholarship opportunities.
You must be in a federal or state-recognized tribe for American Indians or Alaska Native tribes. Alternatively, you can prove that you are a descendant of a tribe member. You must also present academic transcripts, proof of citizenship, and other requirements.
Some institutions look for a specific percentage of Indian and American blood to determine your ancestry. You can take these tests at government institutions or contact the tribe you claim ancestry from to determine your eligibility.
Yes, as a Native American, you can apply for Native American scholarships offered by many coding bootcamps that appreciate diversity and inclusivity. Your research will guide you to coding bootcamps that offer exceptional benefits and access to high-quality tech programs.
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