Native American Scholarships New Mexico

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Cherokee Nation Scholarship Program

Native American Scholarship Program

The Cherokee Nation Scholarship Program is home to several different scholarship opportunities, including the Cherokee Nation PELL Scholarship, Cherokee Nation PELL Supplementation Scholarship, Cherokee Nation Scholarship, Haskell Indian Nations University Scholarship, and a Graduate School Scholarship.

In order to be eligible for one of these scholarships awarded by the Cherokee Nations Higher Education Office, students need to be a tribal citizen, plan on attending a regionally accredited college or university, and apply for financial aid, either the PELL Grant of FAFSA, after January 1.

What Academic Offerings Are Available

The Importance of Tribal Colleges

Tribal colleges serve a critical role in their communities. They’re usually the only opportunity for a post-secondary education for the local population. This is due not only because of their location, but because tuition and cost of attendance is generally less than that of a typical four-year university. Additionally, there are financial aid opportunities available only to students who are members of a federally recognized Native American Indian tribe or Alaska Native group.

Tribal colleges are the primary source of teaching and preserving tribal customs and cultures. Many tribes rely on the tribal college as a means of formally teaching the history and ideas of their respective tribes. To help students afford the cost of attendance, many schools and organizations offer school specific scholarships, such as the following:

American Indian Fellowship In Business Scholarship

This particular scholarship is awarded by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development to American Indian college or graduate students majoring in business. This scholarship is available to full-time students at the junior, senior, or graduate level. More information can be found by visiting the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Developments website here.

The American Indian Fellowship in Business Scholarship is an excellent example of the types of scholarships that are available to female Native American students studying a specific subject. There are many professional societies such as the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development that have their own Native American scholarship programs. As a way to promote diversity within their industry, these professional societies will create minority scholarships to ensure that highly qualified minority students do not have to worry about finances when pursuing a college education.

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Financial Aid For Native American Students


For a student to be eligible for many Native American scholarships, such as BIA scholarships, the student should be an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe. Otherwise funding will most likely be denied. A Certificate of Indian Blood card or document is generally accepted proof of membership in a federally recognized tribe.

Native American students with at least 50% Indian blood who were born in Canada are eligible for Title IV federal student aid under the jurisdiction of the Jay Treaty of 1794, subsequent treaties, and US Immigration Law. They are not required to obtain documentation from the Immigration and Naturalization Service . Because of the limited number of Title IV aid applicants who are eligible under the Jay Treaty, the citizenship question on the FAFSA does not have a separate response for such students. Such students should report on the FAFSA that they are eligible non-citizens and leave the question about the Alien Registration Number blank. They will then be required to provide the financial aid administrator at the school they attend with proof that they have 50% Native American blood and were born in Canada. This can be demonstrated by any of several documents:

In addition to the resources listed below, the Fastweb scholarship search lists many awards for Native American or Native Alaskan students, and hundreds of awards for minority students.

US Bureau of Indian Affairs

Other Information Resources

Challenges Faced By Native Americans


Native Americans face a number of challenges on the path to a college education. Since they are more likely than others to come from poverty-stricken families, affording college is tough. When Native Americans do find a way to afford college, whether through scholarships, grants, or loans, they still may have a hard time affording textbooks, lodging, and other necessities.

Other barriers to education for Native Americans include the distance of reservations from universities and a lack of reliable internet access on reservations, meaning its tough to take classes online. Furthermore, Native American students who are used to being surrounded by tribal members find themselves underrepresented in a sea of unfamiliar faces at college.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, less than 1% of faculty at colleges was Native American in 2005. Native American students on campus can have a hard time coping with a lack of community and cultural familiarity from faculty. Moreover, Native Americans may face discrimination intentional or unintentional from peers and faculty.

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Gates Millennium Scholars Program

Established in 1999 by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this scholarship program provides minority students with scholarship funds to help them complete their college education. While the Gates Millennium Scholars Program is not intended specifically for Native American students, the program does seek to award this student group with the funding necessary to gain a college education.

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Native American Heritage Month

Although the first “American Indian Day” was declared by the State of New York in 1916, a month-long recognition of Native Americans was not achieved until 1990. In that year, President George Bush declared the first National American Indian Heritage Month on August 3rd. His action was based on legislation presented by Senator Daniel K. Inouye and Congressional Delegate Eni Faleomavaega .

The Purpose of National American Indian Heritage Month is to honor and recognize the original peoples of this land. The office of Native American Affairs has planned a month full of activities and events.

American Indian Graduate Center Fellowship

Apply! For the Native American Scholarship Program

Applicant Criteria:

  • Pursuing a post-baccalaureate graduate or professional degree as a full time student at an accredited institution in the U.S.
  • Able to demonstrate financial need through submission of the AIGC Financial Need Form , and
  • An enrolled member of a federally recognized American Indian or Alaska Native group, or provide documentation of descent as verified through submission of a Tribal Eligibility Certificate .

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American Indian Education Fund

The program gives more American Indians and Alaskan Natives the resources and encouragement they need to learn and succeed. The AIEF program is one of the United States’ largest grantors of scholarships to Native Americans, providing nearly $450000 to about 225 students each year.

Deadline: April 4, 2022


Are There Scholarships For Native Students In Stem

Yes! One great one is the American Indian Science and Engineering Society. They focus on providing students with the opportunity to engage in engineering work to benefit their communities. The American Indian College Fund has a whole list of other scholarship opportunities for Native students with different interests. Its a great place to start looking for scholarships for Native students in STEM.Also see: Top STEM scholarships

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Understand The Types Of Financial Aid

There are several types of financial aid available to students: grants, scholarships, fellowships, loans and work-study.

Grants, scholarships and fellowships are the most sought-after forms of financial aid because they do not need to be repaid. Depending on the source, the terms are used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Grants are usually awarded based on need. Scholarships and fellowships are typically awarded based on merit, and fellowships often have a work or service component to them.

A loan is borrowed money that must be paid back, usually with interest. Loans can come from private lenders, such as banks, and public lenders, such as the federal government. The federal government offers two types of loans for students: the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program and the Federal Perkins Loan Program. Some loan options are subsidized, which means there is no interest accruing while the student is in school and for the first six months after the student graduates.

Work-study allows students to work in part-time jobs and earn at least federal minimum wage. However, because this is a financial aid award, students may receive higher pay, depending on their particular school’s work-study funding level, when they apply for work-study and the student’s level of financial need.

Navajo Tribal Utility Authority Scholarship


It is the policy of the NTUA to encourage Navajos to pursue studies that lead to either a bachelor or master degree in fields relating to the multi-service utility industry. One way for NTUA to fulfill its goal to be a good corporate citizen is to provide financial assistance to qualified Navajos who wish to attend College.

Deadline: April 29, 2022

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American Indian Graduate Center

AIGC provides financial support for American Indians and Alaskan Natives seeking higher education, and support them in attaining undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. AIGC collaborates with Tribes, the federal government, foundations, corporations, and individual to ensure growth and sustainability of scholarships.

Deadline: June 1, 2022


Are There Scholarships For Native Women

Yes! The Goldman Sachs MBA Program is a great one to start. Generally, most scholarships for Native students are open to all genders and sexes. So, as a Native woman, it can be a good idea to apply both to scholarships for Native students and to scholarships for women. This allows you to find opportunities for every part of your demographic.To find more scholarships that are custom-matched to your demographics and interests, you can try our free scholarship search tool. After collecting some information about you, it will auto-update vetted scholarship opportunities tailored just to your skillsets and interests.

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Sma Native American Stem Scholarship

SMA supports lasting positive goals in tribal communities by bridging our commitment to providing successful projects with an active investment into tribal capacity development SMA offers a $1,500 scholarship opportunity to Native American students pursuing a four-year degree in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics.

Deadline: June 11, 2022


How Tribal Colleges Help

Navajo Code Talkers scholarship provides college funds to 100 students

Tribal colleges and universities are institutions of higher learning run by Native American Indian tribes. Most tribal colleges have been around only for a few decades. In addition to teaching standard academic subjects, tribal colleges also have curricula that cover the traditions and culture of the sponsoring tribe or group.

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Native American Women Scholarships

In todays tough economic climate, it is virtually impossible to find a job without some type of higher education. Employers are looking to protect their investments by only hiring new employees that they know have the right amount of education to complete the job successfully.

Unfortunately, tuition rates continue to rise every year making it nearly impossible for some students, especially female Native Americans, to afford a college education. As students are forced to work full-time, sometimes more than one job, just to pay their college education-related expenses, the prospect of earning a higher education is becoming bleaker for female Native Americans. Thankfully, there are many scholarships and grants for female Native Americans available that can help reduce the financial burden associated with attending college.

Female Native Americans are often underrepresented within the higher education community. Typically from a low socio-economic society, female Native Americans do not have access to the resources other student groups do that make it easier for them to attend college. Because of this harsh reality, female Native American students need to search high and low for scholarships and grants to help them afford a higher education.

The Julie’s Helpers Memorial Scholarship

The Julie’s Helpers Memorial Scholarship, in memory of Julie Elizabeth Meadows , was established in February 2011, under the co-sponsorship of White Rock Presbyterian Church and the House of Fellowship Church . The purpose of the scholarship is to provide an annual grant of $2500 to one capable Navajo woman who might not otherwise be able pursue a college degree for the purpose of serving her community.

Deadline: June 1, 2022


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Burlington Northern Santa Fe Foundation

This is a renewable scholarship targeting applicants of Alaskan native or American Indian heritage. To apply you must be a member of a tribe with at least ¼ native blood. You must also be a high school student residing in certain designated states of which New Mexico is one. In order to be eligible you must be able to demonstrate a need for financial assistance, leadership ability, a significant depth of interest in your future, and orientation to community service. You must be planning a career in science, engineering, math, medicine, health services technology/administration, or other related fields, and you must be a member of AISES. There is a grade requirement of at least 2.5 GPA. The amount of this award is $2,500, and it is renewable for up to four years until you earn your degree. For more details, check out the website:

Submit The Css Profile


Some colleges and universities may also require an additional financial aid application: the CSS Profile. Check with any of the colleges or universities on your list to see if they require this application. Also, the deadline for the CSS Profile will vary by school and the type of application you submit .

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Indian Health Service Scholarship

Indian Health Service is a Department of Health and Human Services agency that provides federal health services to Native Americans and Alaska Natives. The IHS offers scholarships for Native Americans who are planning on going into careers in health, such as those seeking a bachelors in healthcare management.

All scholarships require applicants to be current members or descendants of a federally recognized, state-recognized, or terminated tribe. You need to have a minimum 2.0 GPA, and all scholarships also require you to fulfill a two-year commitment at an American Indian health facility upon graduation.

To qualify for the Preparatory Scholarship, you must be enrolled in prep or undergraduate prerequisite courses for entry to a health professions school.

To qualify for the Pre-Graduate Scholarship, you must be enrolled in courses that will earn you a bachelors degree in a health profession.

To qualify for the Health Professions Scholarship, you must be enrolled in a program seeking a degree in a health profession.

All IHS scholarships pay the cost of tuition, required fees, and educational and living expenses.

The Indian Higher Education Grant is financial assistance offered by the Bureau of Indian Education.

Qualifications and Requirements:

  • Must be an enrolled member of an American Indian or Alaska Native tribe or at least one-quarter quantum blood
  • Must be accepted to attend a college offering two-year or four-year degrees
  • Must demonstrate financial need

Are You Ready To Discover Your College Program

Only 17 percent of Native American students enroll in college after high school, while the national average for all students is about 70 percent. Of the Native American students who start college, 82 percent drop out before they finish. This staggering number is mostly due to the lack of academic and financial resources available to many Native American students. Native American students who want to attend college have resources available. This guide provides an overview of the scholarships, grants and potential help available through tribal colleges for Native American students.

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American Indian College Fund

Established in 1989, the American Indian College Fund has become the largest source of scholarships and grants for Native American students. Primarily focused on raising funds for the 33 tribal colleges nationwide, the American Indian College Fund does have several excellent scholarship programs in place. Unlike other minority scholarship programs, the scholarships provided by the American Indian College Fund are only given to Native American students.

Scholarships For American Indian Students

Best Practice Education For All: Scholarships for Native Americans

The following is a list of scholarships that are available to Native American college students.

For more information, please contact Nathana Bird at, 747-2113

  • IAC Scholarship Program, No deadline
  • Tsay Corporation Scholarship
  • Northern New Mexico Tribal Business Scholarship
  • LANL Foundation Tribal Business Scholarship
  • Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council, Adult Vocational Training Program , No deadline
  • Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council, Higher Education Scholarship
  • Thermo Scientific Pierce Scholarship
  • Pueblo of Nambe, Higher Education Scholarship
  • AIS Scholarship
  • CERT College Scholarship

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Determine Your Status As A Native American

Almost all financial aid where the applicant’s Native American status is a primary factor will require proof of heritage. This usually means the student must be an enrolled member of a federally recognized Native American Indian tribe or Alaska Native group.

Additionally, the student must have the required percentage or fraction of Native American blood, also known as a blood quantum. Typically, this percentage or degree is one fourth. This means at least one of the student’s grandparents must be a full-blooded Native American Indian or Alaska Native.

Students who wish to determine whether they are a member of a federally recognized group can start their search process at the US Department of the Interior’s Trace Indian Ancestry page. But to actually enroll as a member, the student must contact the tribe or group directly, as the specific tribes and groups establish their own enrollment requirements.

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