Native American Scholarships for Graduate Students

Scholarships can help cover the costs of college, making the academic journey less intimidating. However, they must be earned, and each has its own conditions. Prospective students are encouraged to look into any and all financial awards available - including scholarships based on lineage.

Scholarships for Native American Graduate Students

Diversity is essential in education, and students in minority groups deserve all available opportunities to succeed academically and professionally. Students of American Indian or Native American descent may be eligible for dedicated college scholarships, including aid for masters and doctorate programs. Many organizations in the United States providing funding to American Indian and Alaska Native students of documented lineage with official tribal affiliation. These scholarships are intended to provide opportunities to all students of indigenous lineage, but some programs may give preference to certain tribal affiliations and fields of study.

Eligibility for Native American Graduate Scholarships

Generally speaking, an applying individual must be a U.S. citizen and able to verify at least ¼ American Indian or Alaska native lineage to qualify. The individual must be part of an officially recognized tribe, or in some circumstances, have a parent or parents who is/are enrolled in an officially recognized tribe. Student applicants must intend to pursue or be enrolled in a full-time degree at a higher education institution in the United States, and the institution must have either national or regional accreditation.

Applying for Native American Graduate Scholarships

To apply for funding, students will need to fill out documentation to determine eligibility for Native American graduate scholarships based on proven lineage and demonstrated financial need. This may include submitting a Graduate Scholarship Application, a Tribal Eligibility Certificate, a Financial Needs Form, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), official transcripts, and other paperwork.

How to Demonstrate Native American Lineage

For a student to officially prove their Native American lineage, the first step is to identify the tribe with which they are affiliated, which must be a federally recognized or in some instances, a state-recognized tribe. Students can get in touch with their office of tribal enrollment to find out more about their tribal affiliation and learn how they can become formally enrolled in the community. A student may qualify for certain scholarships if they have a parent or parents in the tribe, but other scholarships may require them to be officially enrolled themselves.

There are also free online guides to determining one's American Indian ancestry, provided by Native American scholarship organizations. Students should also be advised that there are a variety of online resources outlining Native American scholarship organizations, programs, criteria, and application information. Funding varies greatly in amount and may depend on the prospective institution, the academic programs the student intends to study, certain state residency requirements, and other details.

After Receiving the Native American Scholarship

Once a student has been receiving aid, they must follow certain criteria, such as maintaining full-time enrollment and remaining in good academic standing. This may mean maintaining a certain GPA. Different funding organizations have different criteria. In some cases, if a student gets a failing grade or must drop a class, they may be placed on one term probation and must pass a full-time course load to continue receiving funding.

If a graduate student has already received funding for their master's degree but they find they need an additional master's degree, they may be able to receive additional scholarships depending on the field. In some instances, for example, medical, veterinary, pharmaceutical, or pharmacological degree candidates may be funded for up to four academic years including summers.

Opportunities for Native American Graduate Students After College

There are many organizations that provide students of Native American lineage with scholarships or help them find opportunities to explore. In addition to helping these students continue their education, such organizations make it their mission to support the culture, heritage, and contributions of indigenous peoples. They help promote indigenous artists and artisans, build community, and provide coaching and job training programs. Job opportunities exist for Native American students within these organizations' ranks, including grant coordinator, executive assistant, and more.

Many scholarship opportunities exist for graduate students of Native American lineage. Once a student has determined their tribal affiliation and filled out all the necessary paperwork, they will be able to explore financial aid options related to their field of study, their tribe, their institution, and other factors. Scholarships provide much-needed funding to advanced degree students that can rise to the challenge to earn them.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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