Native Americans, and Alaskan Natives, like many other minorities in the United States have historically found themselves excluded from the halls of higher education. But those times have changed. Today, there are many scholarship programs specifically targeted for Native American students. IF you are a member of one of the Federally recognized tribes, and meet the prescribed requirements you may be able to secure scholarship funding for your college education.
Common resources for Native American scholarships include:
When applying for a Native American scholarship, you will have to be able to document your Indian ancestry, and prove your attachment to one of the 562 Federally recognized American Indian tribes. It will not be enough to have an aural or anecdotal family history. You must be an enrolled member of a tribe that is recognized by the U.S. Government and the National Congress of American Indians. The purpose of these scholarships is to encourage and promote higher education in under-represented minority groups, and proving your ancestry is the only way to be considered eligible.
The first step to proving your Native American or Alaskan Native ancestry is to obtain a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood, or CDIB. The CDIB is a document certifying that you have a specific degree of Native American blood and can trace your lineage through one of the Federally recognized tribes. These certifications are made by the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs and are required for any scholarship consideration.
Here some steps to proving your Native American or Alaskan Native heritage:
Native American students will be able to find scholarship opportunities from a number of sources, both Federal and private. Many colleges and universities, particularly in regions where Native American Tribes once flourished, also offer scholarships specifically designed to benefit Native Americans and Alaskan Natives.
Here is a small sampling of the scholarship opportunities available to Native American and Alskan Native students:
If you have exhausted the above sources, don't overlook the simplicity and efficacy of an online scholarship search. Search terms like 'Native American scholarship', 'American Indian scholarship' or 'Tribal scholarship' will bring a large number of results well worth investigating.
Be specific, and include the name of your tribe to help narrow your results, as in 'Cherokee scholarship' or 'Shawnee scholarship'. With a little diligence and some research you will be able to find a number of financial aid opportunities designed to make college an affordable reality for Native American and Alaskan Native students.