Native American Grants

Posted on July 18, 2015 in Minority Grants

Native Americans, one of the larger minority groups in the United States, have traditionally not had as many college graduates as other groups. Many college and university minority grant programs are now aimed at Native Americans in an effort to increase diversity and serve this minority group. Many resources are available, but first, students who want to take advantage of Native American grants must prove that they are at least one-quarter Native American.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs will issue a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood to individuals who can prove through a complete genealogy – including birth certificate and tribal records – that they are Native American. This can take some time and research to prove if you do not already have records, but the funds available to Native Americans make the search worth it. The best places to do your research include the Bureau of Indian Affairs mentioned above, a list of Federally recognized Tribal nations and The Dawes Indian Census Rolls from the late 1800s. Family genealogical records are also a great place to track down your ancestry.

Sources for Native American Grants

The Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs promotes the rights of Native Americans and administers education grants and scholarships through the Bureau of Indian Education. Some of these grants include the BIE Higher Education Grant, the Indian Health Service Scholarship and the Embry-Riddle Scholarship in Science and Technology.

The American Indian College Fund also promotes educational opportunities for Native Americans at both Tribal and non-Tribal colleges, including the annual Full Circle Scholarship.

Tribal Colleges and Universities (you can find a list through the White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities) are designed to provided a college education to Native Americans. Many offer financial aid, including grants, to certified Native American students. Check out the financial aid departments of the colleges on the list for more information on what they offer.

Many tribal nations also offer their own grants to members of their tribe. You can find a list of tribes and their websites here.

The American Indian Graduate Center is a private non-profit organization that awards 1,500 grants and fellowships to Native American and Alaskan Native graduate students every year.

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program, sponsored by the Bill and Amanda Gates Foundation, offers scholarships and grants to minority students pursuing studies in science and mathematics. This program also gives special consideration to Native American applicants.

Many grants in specialized study areas are also available. As just one example:

The American Indian Science and Engineering Society offers several grants and scholarships to Native American students majoring in science, math, computer science or engineering fields. Awards are normally between $1,000 and $4,000.

State Grants for Native Americans

Many states have grants programs set up specifically for Native American students. Just a couple of examples are below – many more are available:

Alabama – The Alabama Indian Affairs Commission Scholarship is offered to students who are members of any of the seven recognized tribes in Alabama.

North Dakota – The state offers grants and scholarships to about 100 Native American students every year. Grants are up to $2,000 based on financial need and academic merit. Students must be able to prove membership in a recognized tribe.

Native American grants are readily available for minority students who can prove their Native American descent and are persistent enough to keep looking until they find sources to fund their college education.

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