Considering that Native Americans are one of the smallest minority groups in the United States, they are not adequately represented in various occupations. To counter this, a number of organizations have come to the fore offering scholarships to people of Native American origin. This has successfully helped many students from this minority group complete their higher studies in the subject of their choice. However, it is just not enough to claim that one belongs to this community in order to claim a scholarship. For proving their eligibility for the scholarship money, an applicant is required to prove his connections with the Native American community. This can be in the form of a membership of notified tribal groups or a formal certificate as a proof of the Native American status. Additionally, the application process in most cases requires applicants to submit various proofs including essays, financial status, and complete academic history.
There are a number of organizations across the United States that offer a variety of scholarships to Native American students. While some of these organizations have been set up by tribal groups, there are organizations like the American Anthropological Society that offer financial aid to students from this community. Interestingly, there are special groups that offer scholarships to Native American students based on their interest in a particular subject area. An example of this is the American Indian Science and Engineering Society that offers scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students to pursue studies in Science and Engineering subjects.
Various institutions offer a number of funds for these scholarship programs. Some of the more prominent sources of scholarship are:
1. US Bureau of Indian Affairs: The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) funds 26 institutions, 24 of which are colleges controlled by various tribal groups recognized by the Federal Government. The BIA funding may also be provided through a contract with the American Indian Graduate Centre. The scholarship is offered for any subject area though higher preference is given to subjects like Business, Engineering, and Law among others.
2. American Indian College Fund (AICF): This institution, since 1989, has been offering scholarships to the Native American student community with funding for higher studies. AICF was established with the responsibility of offering finance for scholarships and aid tribal schools and colleges. The institution offers $5000 annually through scholarships to Native American students of tribal colleges. Additionally, the Fund finances the education of students of accredited colleges across the United States that teach Native American heritage studies.
3. Tribal Offices: Assuming a student is unable to obtain funding from sources such as the ones listed above, they can approach various tribal offices that offer scholarship options to needy students. Although the quantum of funding provided by these offices is less, and may prescribe varied application requirements, it is nevertheless a good source of educational funds available to the Native American community.
4. Colleges and Universities: In addition to the sources mentioned above, Native American students also have a choice of opting for colleges that provide special financial incentives to the community. Some colleges even offer scholarships as an incentive to students that consider doing higher studies on Native American tribes.