If you've been following our blog, you know that there are a plethora of scholarships tied to all sorts of characteristics, interests, and abilities. Given that there are a number of days set aside in October and November to celebrate the rich cultural heritage, history, and vital contributions of American Indians in the United States, we're sharing some of the bigger scholarship awards available to eligible American Indian students (Native American, Alaska Native, and Hawaii Native).
Many of these scholarships are available through the American Indian College Fund, where you can apply once and be matched to a number of scholarships for which you may be eligible.
Note: You will likely need to provide documentation of your native ancestry to achieve eligibility for the following scholarships. Documentation may be a Certificate of Indian Blood card, an affidavit from a tribal official, birth records, or other identification provided to you by a Native American organization. It is also important to know if your parents are enrolled members of a federally recognized tribe and to have their tax and financial information.
As with all students, if you start early, you will be eligible for the most financial aid.
[See how parents and students can find scholarships.]
1. The Ford Motor Company Tribal Scholarship, awarded through the American Indian College Fund, offers up to $5,000 annually to recipients, based on financial need, for students studying math, science, engineering, business, teacher training, or environmental science. Students may study at a two-year or four-year accredited university. Next deadline: May 31, 2013
2. Minnesota resident students whose ancestry is one-fourth or more American Indian may be eligible for the Minnesota Indian Scholarship Program. The needs-based award provides up to $4,000 per year for undergraduate students and up to $6,000 for grad students.
The best news: Students are eligible to receive a scholarship for up to five years of study at the undergraduate level (although only up to three years of study in certificate, diploma, or associate degree programs are eligible, reserving the remaining two years of undergraduate study for a bachelor's degree) and an additional five years of study at the graduate level. Students may receive the scholarship for only one degree per undergraduate educational level and one doctorate or professional degree. Next deadline: July 1, 2012
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3. Native American students studying in Illinois and planning to become preschool, elementary, or secondary school teachers, can apply for the Minority Teachers of Illinois Scholarship Program, which provides up to $5,000 per year to pay for tuition, fees, room, board, and even commuter expenses in some cases.
Minority students, including American Indians, who plan to teach in a nonprofit Illinois public, private, or parochial preschool, elementary, or secondary school with no less than 30 percent minority student enrollment, and who maintain a 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale, are eligible to apply. The catch? After graduation or termination of enrollment, recipients must teach according to the requirements of the scholarship within a certain time frame, or the scholarship becomes a loan. Next deadline: March 1, 2013
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4. The American Indian Science and Engineering Society offers the AISES Google Scholarship to American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian AISES members pursuing degrees in computer science, computer engineering, and related programming fields.
Those eligible for the $10,000 award must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 (out of 4.0) and be a full-time undergrad or grad student at an accredited four-year college or in their second year at a two-year college leading to a four-year degree. In addition, eligible students must be at least a current college sophomore or higher. Last known deadline: Feb. 29, 2012
Janine Fugate, the recipient of numerous scholarships at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, holds a bachelor's degree from the College of Saint Benedict, Saint Joseph, Minn., and a Master of Public Affairs from the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities. Fugate joined Scholarship America in 2002.