Native American Scholarships

Written by Tara Peris
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Native American scholarships provide some of the most lucrative college funding in the country. The federal endowment for minority college aid has been bolstered by generous contributions from a number of individual tribes. This in turn has allowed a growing number of Native American students to pursue higher education successfully.

Given that award packages are quite generous, the qualification guidelines for Native American scholarships are stringent. It's not enough to say that you're part Cherokee dating back to a great great-grandparent. You must be prepared to show documentation of your heritage. Most often, this comes in the form of a tribal membership; however, some scholarship programs require formal certification of Indian roots to verify legitimate membership.

Eligibility Requirements

Residents of all states are eligible for Native American scholarships, and those born in Canada may also qualify if they can document at least 50 percent Indian heritage. For U.S. citizens, the specific blood requirement varies, but most federal programs require at least ¼ Indian blood in order to be eligible for an award. If you're able to provide the required documentation, a wealth of opportunity awaits you.

Look for awards from the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs as well as scholarships offered by the Indian Health Service. Each of these resources offers multiple college aid programs. In addition, you might look into offerings from the American Indian College Fund and the American Indian Consortium. These are the primary sites for dispersing college scholarships and they can direct you to smaller local award programs if needed.

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