Scholarships for Native American Students

  • There are several scholarships available for Native American Students
  • The award amounts vary and so do the eligibility requirements
  • In most cases, students need to submit documentation supporting their Native American heritage

Native American students have historically had lower enrollment numbers in colleges and universities across the country. According to The Postsecondary National Policy Institute, in Fall 2020, Native American students made up only 0.6% of the total postsecondary enrollment. Since then, undergraduate Native American enrollment has fallen by as much as 40% and graduate enrollment has fallen by almost 18%.

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The low rate of enrollment could be due to a combination of factors. In most cases, it is due to the lack of funds. A U.S. Census Data published in 2018, showed that Native Americans experience the highest poverty rate among all minority groups.

To rectify this, many organizations have established scholarships, especially for Native Americans who wish to earn a higher education. These scholarships aim to grant underserved student access to much-needed financial aid so they can pursue their dream. Through their higher education and with the continued support of their community, these students strive toward the future while retaining the important knowledge of their past.

We’ve put together some of the best scholarships for Native American students that can help qualifying students fund their college education.

1. American Indian Medical Scholarship Program

Deadline: June 1 (Fall); December 1 (Spring)

Amount: $1,500

The American Indian Medical Scholarship Program was earlier known as the American Indian Nurse Scholarship Award. It was originally intended to be awarded only to female students of American Indian descent who wished to pursue careers in nursing. The program was expanded later to include male and female students of American Indian descent who wished to pursue careers in any healthcare-related field, including health education.

The scholarship is sponsored by The National Society of Colonial Dames in America (NSCDA), an organization that is made up of the descendants of women who were residents of one of the thirteen colonies.

Students with at least 1/4 Native American ancestry and currently enrolled in an accredited nursing or medical school may apply to the American Indian Medical Scholarship Program. The winners receive $1,500 each semester, provided they remain in good academic standing. The money is restricted to specific college-related expenses including tuition.

Winners of this award are expected to return to work among their people. This could be either by working on reservations or in hospitals located in areas largely populated by American Indians.

2. Catching the Dream Program

Deadline: Varying

Amount: Ranges from $500 to $5,000 per year, based on merit

According to various accounts, the people of the Chippewa nation made dreamcatchers in an attempt to ward off frightful spirits in nightmares. The stringed hoops often hang over a bed and strung with beads or feathers, which the people believed pushed, then swept, the spirits away. The Catching the Dream Program uses the image of the dreamcatcher to represent a positive vision for the future of Native Americans.

The mission of Catching The Dream is to provide financial aid to students who demonstrate academic excellence. The long-term goal of the program is to improve the quality of life in Indian communities through higher education of students within those communities. Students who demonstrate their commitment to returning to their communities and helping others realize their dreams are strong contenders for this scholarship.

Winners of Catching The Dream continue receiving funding for all four years of college without having to reapply. Their graduate degree is also automatically funded. Application forms for this scholarship are available here.

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3. DAR American Indian Scholarship

Deadline: 31 January 2024

Amount: $4,000

The DAR American Indian Scholarship is one of many scholarships established by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). These awards are intended to support the higher education of Native American college and technical students who have financial need.

To qualify for this award, you must be a Native American and be able to prove that you’re a member of a tribe that’s recognized at a state and/or federal level. In addition, you must have a minimum GPA of 3.25 based on a 4.0 scale or equivalent. This opportunity is available for vocational training or college undergraduate or graduate students, although preference is given to undergraduate applicants.

The winner is chosen based on academic accomplishment, commitment to the field of study, and financial need. The award money is deposited with the recipient’s college or university and any money that remains unused is returned to the DAR.

Applications for the DAR American Indian Scholarship must be submitted online through the Academic Works portal. The Portal is open for applications from November 1, 2023 until January 31, 2024.

4. Frances Crawford Marvin American Indian

Deadline: 31 January 2024

Amount: Varying

This is another scholarship funded by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). The Frances Crawford Marvin American Indian Scholarship is available to Native American students who are enrolled full-time at a 2-year or 4-year college or university.

To qualify for this scholarship, you must be able to provide proof of American Indian blood by letter or proof papers. In addition, you must have a GPA of 3.25 or higher, showcase consistent academic achievement, and demonstrate financial need. Along with your application, you will also need to submit a letter of sponsorship from your local DAR chapter.

The scholarship amount varies year to year depending on total return of the endowment. You can reapply for this scholarship every year. Your application will be considered along with other applications.

5. AMS Scholarship for Underserved Communities

Deadline: 23 February 2024

Amount: $6,000

The AMS Scholarship for Underserved Communities was formerly called the Minority Scholarship. This program awards financial aid to students underrepresented in the sciences, specifically atmospheric and oceanic or hydrologic-related sciences (excluding marine biology). Students from any underrepresented community may apply, though the scholarships give preference to Native American, Hispanic, and African American students.

To qualify, students need at least a 3.0 GPA. Additionally, students must submit their transcript, one letter of recommendation, and their SAT or ACT scores. The $6,000 award is disbursed in two installments. The first $3,000 is disbursed during freshman year. The second amount of $3,000 is disbursed during the second year on successful completion of the first academic year. Winners of this award must be committed to pursuing careers in the atmospheric or related oceanic and hydrologic sciences.

These are not the only scholarships around. Use our scholarship search database to find thousands of scholarships that you may qualify for.

Plus, find the colleges right for you with College Raptor’s match tool! You can see your admission chances at a certain school and even what sort of financial aid they might offer you.


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