Reviewed by Laila Abdalla, Ph.D.


  • Learn about various financial aid programs available to Native American students.
  • Locate scholarship programs and details for Native American undergraduate learners.
  • Find scholarships for Native American women, graduate students, and program-specific applicants.
  • Gain information on grants and other financial aid support resources.

Native Americans experience lower enrollment and educational attainment numbers in colleges and universities across the country, in some cases due to a lack of access to financial aid. At Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), students rely primarily on federal funding, as state funding and private endowments provide little aid.

According to Poverty USA, Indigenous Americans experience the highest poverty rates among all ethnic groups, highlighting the great need for financial support. While there is still a shortage of programs, this page highlights several Native American scholarships available to support these underserved students.

Financial Assistance for Native American Students

  • Loans

    Loans come from various sources, including government agencies and financial institutions. Depending on the loan, students may need strong credit and good grades to qualify, and they usually need to pay loans back with interest.

  • Fellowships

    Fellowships typically provide funding to graduate students in return for a brief period of work or research at an organization. These work assignments allow learners to develop their professional and research skills and interests while earning a financial stipend.

  • Grants

    While some grants are based on academic or athletic achievement, they typically provide funding to students based on financial need. Recipients do not need to pay grants back, and they may be able to renew this type of aid for multiple years.

  • Work Study

    Work-study programs provide funding to students in return for part-time work on campus or in the community. Students may build work experience while earning money to put toward their education.

  • Scholarships

    Scholarships typically provide funding based on a student's academic merit, community involvement, demographic variables, and/or field of study. Schools, organizations, and government agencies can provide funding for these awards. Scholarships may be one-time awards or renewable, and they do not require repayment.

How to Complete the FAFSA as a Native American Student

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can qualify students for many federal and nonfederal grants. Many other financial aid programs pull student information and financial need assessment data from this application. As such, filling out this form can streamline the application process for many other types of aid.

Applicants usually need their Social Security number, tax information, and parent's financial information (if they are still dependents). Check out our guides for more information on the FAFSA form, grants and scholarships, college loans, and financial aid for minority students.

Scholarships for Native American Students

In the following sections, we highlight several Native American scholarships, including those serving undergraduates, graduates, and women.

Featured Scholarships for Native American Undergraduate Students

The following scholarships are available to undergraduate students. Prospective applicants should check out award pages for more detailed eligibility and application requirements.

Accenture Native American Scholarship Fund

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must demonstrate Native American heritage and a commitment to their community, along with a minimum 3.25 GPA. Students must enroll in a full-time STEM or business-related undergraduate program.

Award amount: Varies

Deadline: June

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American Indian Education Fund - Undergraduate Scholarships

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must possess a minimum GPA of 2.0, provide proof of tribal nation enrollment, and attend an accredited undergraduate program.

Award amount: $2,000

Deadline: April

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American Indian Services Scholarship

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants need proof of at least one-quarter American Indian heritage and a minimum GPA of 2.25.

Award amount: Up to half of tuition costs

Deadline: February, April, July, and November

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Association on American Indian Affairs Scholarships

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be enrolled with a tribe, possess a minimum 2.5 GPA, attend an accredited undergraduate program full time, and submit an application essay.

Award amount: Varies

Deadline: May

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Cherokee Nation Scholarship Program

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be members of the Cherokee Nation and pursue an undergraduate degree from an accredited school.

Award amount: Varies

Deadline: April and June

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Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Higher Education Scholarships

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be Cheyenne and Arapaho tribal members and demonstrate academic merit and a commitment to the community.

Award amount: Varies

Deadline: June, November, and April

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Continental Society Daughters of Indian Wars Scholarships

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be an enrolled tribal member, have career goals connected to helping Native Americans, demonstrate financial need, and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA in an undergraduate program.

Award amount: $2,500 and $5,000

Deadline: June

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Daughters of the American Revolution - DAR American Indian Scholarship

Who is eligible? Eligible undergraduate applicants must provide proof of American Indian status and possess a minimum GPA of 3.25.

Award amount: $4,000

Deadline: January

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Empowering Scholars Initiative: Student Relief Scholarships

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be enrolled in a full-time undergraduate program and be a tribal member or descendant.

Award amount: Varies

Deadline: Rolling

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Full Circle Scholarship

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be Native American with a minimum GPA of 2.0. They must also be full-time students enrolled in an undergraduate program.

Award amount: Varies

Deadline: May

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NativeVision Scholarship

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be Native American high school seniors who are committed to education, athletics, and leadership. Students should also be accepted into college for the following fall.

Award amount: $5,000

Deadline: May

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Navajo Nation Scholarships

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be members of the Navajo Nation Tribe and pursuing an undergraduate degree. Some awards are based on financial need and others are based on academic merit.

Award amount: Varies

Deadline: June and November

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Udall Undergraduate Scholarship

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be enrolled Native American tribal members and demonstrate leadership and a commitment to Native American issues.

Award amount: Up to $7,000

Deadline: March

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United South and Eastern Tribes Scholarships

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be enrolled members of the USET Tribal Nation and possess strong academic standing.

Award amount: Varies

Deadline: January

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Wells Fargo Scholarship for Undergraduates

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must demonstrate proof of Native American status, possess a minimum GPA of 2.7, and be enrolled or enrolling in a full-time undergraduate program.

Award amount: $5,000

Deadline: May

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Scholarships for Native American Women

The following list highlights scholarships for women of color, including Native American women. Readers can find more detailed application information on each award page.

Amelia Kemp Scholarship

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be women of color in pursuit of an undergraduate degree. They must also be members of the Lutheran Church in America.

Award amount: $1,500

Deadline: April

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Bertha Parker Cody Award for Native American Women

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be Native American, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian women and attend an undergraduate program in archaeology or museum studies.

Award amount: $4,000

Deadline: March

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Minority Women in STEM Bi-Annual Scholarship

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants are women from underrepresented groups who are in pursuit of a STEM degree at the undergraduate or graduate level.

Award amount: $3,000

Deadline: April and October

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Scholarships for Native American Graduate Students

The following list of scholarships features awards available to graduate students, including those attending MBA programs. For more information, visit each award page.

American Indian Science and Engineering Society Scholarships

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be American Indians in pursuit of a graduate or undergraduate degree. Some awards include merit requirements, while others maintain program-related requirements.

Award amount: Varies

Deadline: March or May

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Catching the Dream Scholarships

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be Native American, boast academic merit and ambition, and pursue a graduate or undergraduate degree.

Award amount: Varies

Deadline: March, April, and September

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Navajo Nation Graduate Scholarships

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be Navajo Nation tribal members in pursuit of a graduate degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Law, medical, and veterinary students only need a GPA of 2.0 or higher.

Award amount: $2,500-$5,000

Deadline: June and November

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Native American Journalists Association Scholarships

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be Native American graduate students pursuing a career in journalism. Some awards give preference to applicants who demonstrate a commitment to Native American storytelling.

Award amount: Up to $70,000

Deadline: February

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Society for American Archaeology - Native American Graduate Archaeology Scholarship

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be Native American and attend an archaeology graduate program.

Award amount: Up to $11,000

Deadline: March

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Degree-Related Scholarships for Native American Students

The following scholarships are awarded to applicants enrolled in specific academic disciplines, such as STEM or healthcare. You can find more detailed information on the webpages for each award.

American Indian Nurse Scholarship Program

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must prove American Indian tribal member status, demonstrate financial need, and pursue a bachelor's degree in nursing or healthcare.

Award amount: $1,500

Deadline: Varies

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Indian Health Service Scholarship Program

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be Native American or Alaska Native, attend an undergraduate health program, and commit to two years of service within a Native American health program or community.

Award amount: Varies

Deadline: March

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REDW Scholarship

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants are Native American students who demonstrate financial need. Students must also be enrolled in an accounting or finance undergraduate program.

Award amount: Varies

Deadline: June

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Society for American Archaeology - Native American Undergraduate Archaeology Scholarship

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be Native American students who are pursuing an undergraduate archaeology degree. These funds can be used to cover archaeology-related costs.

Award amount: $6,000

Deadline: March

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Truman D. Picard Scholarship

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must be enrolled in a federally recognized tribe and pursue a degree related to natural resources.

Award amount: $2,500

Deadline: March

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Wells Fargo American Indian Scholarship

Who is eligible? Eligible applicants must demonstrate financial need and American Indian tribal membership. Applicants should also be upper-division students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and pursuing a banking, administration, or management undergraduate degree.

Award amount: Varies

Deadline: June

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Grants for Native American Students

Like all other students seeking grants, Native American students should start by completing the FAFSA, which can qualify students for Federal Pell Grants, along with many nonfederal grants. Popular grants include the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and Academic Competitiveness and National SMART grants.

Additionally, some grants are only available to members of tribal nations. Possible options include the grant program hosted by the Bureau of Indian Education and the Indian Higher Education Grant Program.

Additional Financial Aid Resources for Native American Students

American Indian Higher Education Consortium

Uniting TCUs, AIHEC advocates for better inclusionary practices, access to education, funding, and equal opportunity for American Indian students in higher education.

Indian Health Service

Responsible for the federal health services provided to American Indians, IHS also offers educational and career opportunities for prospective healthcare students and professionals.

Bureau of Indian Education

BIE develops and disseminates appropriate educational services to Bureau-funded schools and students across the country. The organization also offers support services and resources for current and prospective college students.

American Indian Graduate Center

The American Indian Graduate Center provides financial support services to students from over 500 tribes. The center oversees various student resources, publications, and scholarship programs.

Partnership With Native Americans

PWNA supports Native Americans in various ways, including investing in communities, improving access to resources, and reviewing and promoting scholarship opportunities for Native American students.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does “Native American” mean?

The term "Native American" refers to the people enrolled in or descended from the more than 500 indigenous tribes across the country. The term attempts to identify these people as the original inhabitants of North America.

What percentage of college students are Native American?

According to the Postsecondary National Policy Institute, Native Americans represent 1% of the undergraduate and less than 1% of the graduate population in the country. Among the Native American population, approximately 19% of 18-24 year olds attend college or university — this rate is much lower than it is for the overall U.S. population (41%).

What kinds of scholarships are available for Native Americans?

Native American students have access to scholarships at both TCUs and other higher education institutions. These scholarships may be awarded based on a student's academic merit, location, academic discipline, and financial status. Indigenous learners can also pursue scholarships reserved for underserved populations.

Where can you find scholarships for Native American students?

Native American students can find scholarships by looking at award databases, government resource pages, and Native American organization websites. Many schools also maintain internal and external award databases and provide assistance applying for scholarships.

How do I qualify for Native American scholarships?

To qualify for these scholarships, applicants typically need to provide proof of tribal enrollment. They may also need to meet a minimum GPA cutoff and submit letters of recommendation and other supplemental material.


Reviewed by:

Laila Abdalla, Ph.D.

Laila Abdalla, Ph.D.


Laila Abdalla obtained her Ph.D. in English from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. For over 21 years at Central Washington University, she taught undergraduate and graduate courses in her subjects, along with classes on successful writing. Laila has devoted her teaching and leadership to matters of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

She is committed to her students' complete experience above all, raising awareness of BIPoC issues in language, community, and culture. She leads with equity in management and nonprofit volunteering, and continues to develop her own understandings of these complex issues in her lived experiences and professionally.