Getting an education for Native Americans is incredibly important for a number of reasons. First and foremost, a college education today is absolutely essential for many career opportunities. There have been numerous accounts of people leaving college behind and going on to have great careers, but they are the exception to the rule. For Native Americans, being able to afford college can be a challenge.
Certain scholarships have various requirements, including grade point average, extracurricular activities, and more. For any scholarships for Native Americans, it’s important that the student who is applying for this particular scholarship is considered Native American. Different tribes and organizations have various requirements when it comes to defining a person as being Native American. Some will require the individual to have a certain ancestry, a certain number of people in their ancestry who were official Native Americans, and more.
Unfortunately, some people in the United States take advantage of various scholarships and a number of other programs that are intended to help Native Americans and that makes it more difficult for true blooded Native Americans to get the opportunities they deserve. For example, some U.S. citizens apply for assistance programs because their great-great-great-great grandfather was a Native American in an official tribe. Today, they may technically have some history of Native American in their bloodline, that doesn’t necessarily qualify them for being considered Native American.
Most scholarships for Native Americans are quite specific on their requirements and expect students who apply for it to be part of a tribe.
Before beginning to look at various scholarships for Native Americans, it’s a good idea to have a solid understanding about the value of scholarships as well as grants.
A scholarship differs from a grant in that they are generally merit-based. Scholarships often have minimum requirements with regard to grade point average, community service, leadership demonstration, extracurricular activities, and more. A grant is based on financial need. Some grants can certainly require a minimum Grade Point Average, but most grants will focus more on the potential student’s financial situation and their need for financial assistance in order to be able to attend college.
What to avoid when filling out scholarships for Native Americans.
The most important thing that college-bound students, whether they are currently enrolled in high school as a junior or senior, currently taking college undergraduate courses, or are enrolled in a graduate program, should keep in mind when filling out an application for scholarships is to pay attention to the requirements.
A single scholarship application could take anywhere between 30 minutes to several hours, depending on the scholarship and the student’s ability to complete the application process. Many scholarships require an essay. Some students have a tendency to submit a generic essay to many different scholarships, but this can be detrimental.
Writing an original essay for a scholarship can certainly be time-consuming. It is estimated that the average college student in the United States needs to fill out approximately 70 to 75 scholarship applications in order to earn just one. That can be an incredible amount of time. So, before beginning to apply to any scholarship, it’s important that the student read through all of the requirements and make sure he or she meets them, at a minimum.
If the student doesn’t meet the minimum cumulative GPA requirement, even if they just miss it by a decimal point, it may not be practical to invest that kind of time applying for it.
Now, as for scholarships for Native Americans, here are several that some students may be eligible for.
American Indian Services
This is an organization that provides financial support and assistance to Native Americans. One of their chief priorities and missions is to provide financial support and assistance to Native Americans who want to attend college or vocational schools.
American Indian Services was established in 1958 and continues to be a beacon of hope for young Native Americans who want an opportunity to attend college or gain certain vocational certification and technical knowledge.
It’s important to understand that AIS wants students to earn half of their tuition on their own. Then the American Indian Services will pay for the rest. Native American students who are interested in learning more about the American Indian Services scholarship opportunities are encouraged to visit their website here.
American Indian College Fund
The American Indian College Fund has provided more than 100,000 scholarships in the past 25 years. The main focus of the scholarships is to not just help American Indian students attend college, but go on to graduate. One of the biggest challenges that college freshmen face is a new way of life and that’s one of the primary reasons why so many college freshmen and sophomores ultimately drop out.
By relying on a scholarship, students have something more invested in their college education than just the opportunity to earn a degree. When they have an organization like the American Indian College Fund supporting them, they have a number of people who are cheering them on.
Students who are interested in learning more about the American Indian College Fund and to determine whether or not they are eligible should visit their website here.
There are also a number of government-funded scholarship programs that certain students may qualify for. To get a better understanding of these particular programs, students should visit the White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities website here.