Native American scholarships are provided to students at the high school level, as well as to adults in graduate or post graduate studies. The goal of Native American scholarships is to increase the number of Native Americans completing higher education degrees. In most cases, scholarships are offered through memorial scholarships, federal scholarships or specific organizations of Native American professionals. Many of these scholarships are based on financial need and a willingness of the student to work within a specific Native American community after graduation.
As with any type of minority scholarship, Native Americans can apply to a wide range of scholarships, even if they are not specifically for Native Americans. Many scholarships may be established to promote women in education through the Native American population while others will be open to both males and females. One of the largest scholarships programs across the United States is the American Indian College Fund. The fund supports both tribal colleges as well as individual students that are pursuing education either within a tribal college or in a private or public fully college, university and career school.
A great resource for Native American students looking for both specific and general scholarships, grants and fellowships is American Indian Scholarships. This site lists, in alphabetical order, many different types of scholarships open to Native American Indians. Some scholarships are designated for students of particular tribes while others are for any Native American student. In some cases, the student does not need to be of only Native American Indian heritage, but will need to be able to prove that they have immediate ancestors that were Native American Indian.
The Federal source of scholarships for Native American Indian students is the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE). Scholarships through the BIE range from graduate fellowship awards to summer law school scholarship programs. All BIE scholarships require students be at least one quarter Native American heritage to a recognized Native American tribe and attending an accredited school within the United States.