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Articles / Paying for College / Colleges That Offer Tuition Waivers and Scholarships for Native American Students

Colleges That Offer Tuition Waivers and Scholarships for Native American Students

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Written by Sam Jaquez | Nov. 23, 2022
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Photo by George Pak

A state-by-state list of colleges and universities that offer tuition waivers and scholarships for Native American students.

With less than one percent of all college students in the United States being Native American or Alaskan Native, many states and schools have implemented ways to help increase access to higher education including full and partial tuition waivers, scholarships, and grants. We have compiled a comprehensive list of tuition waiver programs and top scholarships for Native American students broken down by state.

Alabama

The Poarch Creek Indians of Alabama offer a tuition assistance program for tribal members who qualify. A loan repayment program is also available for members who have already graduated. More information on the Poarch Creek Indians site.

Alaska

Ilisagvik College – Ilsagvik College offers a tuition waiver for Native American/Alaskan Native students who do not reside in North Slope. The college also offers the Iñupiaq language classes for free, as a way to remove the barrier to language access.

Arizona

The University of Arizona – The Arizona Native Scholars Grant ensures that Native students are provided free access to their education for up to four years. After additional grants and scholarships are awarded, the university will cover the reaming tuition costs and fees.

Arkansas

The University of Arkansas offers in-state tuition for out-of-state students from tribes that were formerly located in Arkansas. More information and a full list can be found on the university website.

Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas – UA Cossatot offers a tuition waiver for eligible Native American students from an Arkansas tribe.

California

The University of California has the Native American Opportunity Plan which covers tuition and fees for Native American students who are residents of California and are enrolled in a federally recognized tribe. A full list of campuses can be found at the UC website.

University of California also has an assembled page of resources available for Native American students on each UC campus.

Colorado

Fort Lewis College - Fort Lewis College has a tuition waiver for students of a federally enrolled tribe. The waiver covers the cost of tuition but students must pay for addition fees, housing, and books.

Colorado State University – Colorado State has The Native American Legacy Award which offers in-state tuition to out-of-state Native students. Additional resources for Native American students can be found through the university’s Native American Cultural Center.

Metropolitan State University of Denver – MSU’s Indigenous & Native Peoples’ Grant covers tuition and fees for Native students who are Colorado residents and who belong to a federally recognized tribe.

University of Colorado Boulder – While the university doesn’t have a tuition waiver for Native American students, the school does offer a few programs to help support Native students through the White Antelope Memorial Program and the First Nations Scholarship

University of Northern Colorado – University of Northern Colorado offers in-state tuition to students from any tribe with historical ties to the state.

Connecticut

University of Connecticut’s College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources offers free tuition, room, and board for students who enroll in the Ratcliffe Hicks Associate’s Degree Program.

Delaware

No current school or state-specific tuition waivers or scholarships for Native American students.

Florida

No current school or state-specific tuition waivers or scholarships for Native American students.

Georgia

No current school or state-specific tuition waivers or scholarships for Native American students.

Hawaii

University of Hawaii at Manoa offers the Kua’ana Tuition Waiver for Native Hawaiian students.

UH Manoa also has the Native Hawaiian Exemption program which offers in-state tuition for out-of-state students who are of Native Hawaiian descent.

Idaho

The University of Idaho’s Tribal Excellence Scholarship offers an in-state tuition to out-of-state Native American students from select tribes or Native students transferring from an accredited tribal college or university.

Additionally, The University of Idaho’s College of Law has the Tribal Homelands Scholarship which offers tuition money to students who are members of a federally recognized tribe.

Idaho State University offers reduced tuition to members of the state’s five federally recognized tribes: Shoshone-Bannock, Nez Perce, Shoshone-Paiute, Kootenai, and Coeur d’Alene.

Boise State University offers a reduced tuition rate for Native students from one of Idaho’s five federally recognized tribes through the Native American Scholarship, which once awarded, does not need to be renewed each year.

Lewis-Clark State College offers a Native American tuition waiver for students who take classes in Career Technical Education and offers in-state tuition to Native students who are from an Idaho-based federally recognized tribe or select boundary tribes. More information including qualifications and application info can be found through the school’s Native American, Minority & Veterans' Services center.

Illinois

University of Illinois – For members of the Peoria Tribe the University of Illinois offers a scholarship that covers tuition, room/board, and fees for up to four years. For out-of-state Native students, the school offers in-state tuition for members of any federally recognized tribe. More information about both opportunities can be found through the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations.

University of Illinois Springfield – The university’s Diversity Center has pulled together a comprehensive list of scholarships (unaffiliated with the university) for their Native American students.

Indiana

While no Indiana universities offer tuition waivers, the Indiana Native American Indian Affairs Commission offers several scholarships funded through the sale of the state license plate.

Iowa

Iowa State University provides in-state tuition for out-of-state Native students from tribes that have a historical connection to the state of Iowa.

Kansas

Haskell Indian Nations University – Haskell Indian Nations University provides free tuition for all Native American students from federally recognized tribes. Students only pay for housing and other fees.

The University of Kansas – Past or current students of Haskell Indian Nations University who transfer, regardless of residency status, qualify for in-state tuition at The University of Kansas.

Kentucky

No current school or state-specific tuition waivers or scholarships for Native American students.

Louisiana

While no specific universities in Louisiana offer Native American tuition waivers, the State of Louisiana’s Office of Indian Affairs has an annual scholarship for Native students.

Maine

Maine offers a Native American tuition waiver for all universities and colleges under The University of Maine system.

Maryland

While no specific university in Maryland provide tuition waivers for Native students, the University of Maryland offers several Native American scholarships to help with tuition.

Massachusetts

All Massachusetts public colleges and universities accept the Native American Tuition Credit, which is a tuition waiver available through the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs.

A full list of eligible Massachusetts public colleges and universities.

Michigan

Michigan offers a Native American tuition waiver for all public universities and colleges through the state’s Department of Civil Rights.

Minnesota

University of Minnesota – the Native American Promise Tuition Program offers free tuition to first-year undergrad students and students who transfer from tribal colleges.

Mississippi

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians offer the Tribal Scholarship program for students who are enrolled members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

Mississippi College – Mississippi College will provide tuition assistance for students of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians for their first year.

Missouri

University of Missouri – While there are no universities in Missouri that offer a Native American tuition waiver the University of Missouri offers the Dorothy Blatchford Memorial Scholarship Fund for Native students.

Montana

All schools within the Montana University System have a tuition waiver available for eligible Native American students.

A full list of universities, colleges, and community colleges within the Montana University System can be found here.

Nebraska

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln – The university offers in-state tuition for members of the 24 tribes that have a historic connection to Nebraska. More information about the qualifications as well as info on available scholarships for Native students can be found through the school’s admissions office.

Addition opportunities for Native students from Nebraska can be found through the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska website.

Nevada

The Nevada System of Higher Education offers a fee waiver for Native American students from tribes affiliated with the state of Nevada.

A full list of NSHE colleges and universities can be found on the NSHE website.

New Hampshire

University of New Hampshire ­– UNH offers the Granite Guarantee, which is a financial aid program that covers tuition for qualifying students (any student, not just Native Americans) who are first-year students and New Hampshire residents.

New Jersey

While no specific university in New Jersey offers a tuition waiver for Native American students, the New Jersey Commission on Indian Affairs has a resource of scholarships and programs aimed at helping Native American students.

New Mexico

The New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship covers the full cost of tuition for qualifying New Mexico residents who attend a public university or college in NM.

The scholarship also qualifies Native American students from tribes that are located even partially in New Mexico, even if the student lives in the bordering state.

New York

Native Americans who are New York State residents who have been accepted to a college or university in the state are eligible for the Aid to Native Americans Program, which is a tuition grant for eligible applicants.

New York University – NYU offers the Lenape Scholarship, which is a scholarship awarded to students based on demonstrated engagement with Native American culture and community. Special consideration is given to members of the Lenape tribal nation.

North Carolina

While no specific colleges in North Carolina offer or accept a tuition waiver, the Triangle Community Foundation does offer a scholarship specifically for Native American students of NC. The North Carolina American Indian Fund Scholarship is a $1,000 scholarship for qualifying NC students.

For Graduate Students, the University of North Carolina has the North Carolina Native American Incentive Fellowship, which awards $20,000 plus full tuition and fees for one academic year.

North Dakota

Bismarck State College – Bismarck State College offers the Cultural Diversity Tuition Waiver Program which significantly reduces the price of tuition for Native students of a federally recognized tribe.

North Dakota State University – NDSU has a Cultural Diversity Tuition Waiver which assists in covering tuition for Native American students.

Ohio

No current school or state-specific tuition waivers or scholarships for Native American students.

Oklahoma

Northeastern State UniversityThe Tribal Heritage Scholarship waives the non-resident portion of tuition for out-of-state Native students.

The University of Oklahoma accepts any waivers through Oklahoma tribes. More information including direct links to tribal resources is available through Admissions & Recruitment.

Oregon

Oregon’s Office of Student Access and Completion offers in-state tuition to out-of-state Native students attending public universities and colleges in Oregon. Students must be an enrolled member of one of Oregon’s federally recognized tribes or from a tribe that has had traditional and customary tribal boundaries that included parts of the state of Oregon.

Pennsylvania

East Stroudsburg University – Offers a partial tuition waiver through the ESU Native American Scholarship.

Rhode Island

The Narragansett Tribe has a higher education program that helps supplement tuition for Narragansett students.

The University of Rhode Island – The URI Narragansett Scholarship awards four years of in-state tuition, fees, and more for students of Narragansett ancestry.

South Carolina

The Catawba Indian Nation Scholarship Program is a tuition assistance program for members of the Catawba Indian Nation and can be re-applied and awarded each school year. More information about the program as well as links to other resources for Catawba students are also available on the Catawba Indian Nation website.

South Dakota

South Dakota State University – SDSU offers several financial aid and scholarship opportunities for Native students including the Wokini Scholarship which can be reapplied and awarded yearly.

Oglala Lakota College – Reduced tuition is offered for Oglala Lakota students at Oglala Lakota College.

Tennessee

The Nashville Indian Health Service offers scholarships for undergrads and grad students who are studying to enter into a health profession.

Texas

No current school or state-specific tuition waivers or scholarships for Native American students.

Utah

University of Utah – Starting in Spring 2023, University of Utah will begin waiting tuition for Native American students from one of Utah’s eight tribal nations.

Additionally, the university currently waives application fees for Native students with a permanent address in Utah or who are attending a tribal high school in the state. More information on qualifications and requirements available through the school’s financial aid office.

Vermont

University of Vermont – The Udall Scholarship provides funds for junior and senior Native American students committed to a career in health care or tribal public policy.

Sterling College – The School of the New American Farmstead offers the SNAF scholarship for qualifying students of Abenaki heritage.

More learning opportunities such as grad school waivers, summer programs, and more for Abenaki students available through the Nulhegan Band of the Coosuk Abenaki Nation’s website.

For students enrolled in a Vermont college or university – The Vermont Espscor Native American and First Generation Student Scholarship is awarded to STEM students.

Virginia

Virginia Tech – The Tech Tribal Match Scholarship is a one-time scholarship for eligible Native American students who are already receiving a scholarship from one of Virginia’s 11 recognized tribes.

Washington

American Indian Residency Bill – In-state tuition is provided for out-of-state students from tribes that border Washington state who are attending any public college and university in Washington. Clear instructions available through WSU’s site but can be applied at any public college in the state.

Washington State University – WSU has several scholarships available for Native American Students including the MOU Tribal Scholarship the Plateau Native American Scholarship, and more.

American Indian Endowed Scholarship – available to students attending a public college or university in Washington who meet eligibility requirements.

West Virginia

No current school or state-specific tuition waivers or scholarships for Native American students.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin Indian Student Assistance Grant – For students attending the University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Technical College, independent colleges and universities, tribal colleges, or proprietary institutions based in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin Grant – tuition assistance for undergrad students attending the University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Technical College, and Tribal institutions.

Wisconsin Grant, Private Non-Profit – tuition assistance for undergrad students attending a private university in Wisconsin.

Information on each of the grants listed above as well as additional opportunities for Native American students in Wisconsin available through the State’s Higher Education page.

While there are no specific tuition waivers by UW-Madison, the university does have a Tribal Relations department that provides resources of Native students.

Wyoming

University of Wyoming ­– offers several financial aid opportunities for Native American students including scholarships and grants.

Central Wyoming College – offers several scholarships for Native American students including the Ann King Scholarship for students from the Wind River reservation.

Additional Financial Aid Opportunities for Native American Students

✏️ AAIA Scholarship – offered by the Association on American Indian Affairs. Notable for being the oldest Native scholarship program in the country and for accepting applications by students from tribes not federally recognized.

✏️ AIEF Undergraduate Scholarship – offered by the American Indian Education Fund

✏️ AIS Scholarships Program ­ – offered by American Indian Services

✏️ Catching the Dream scholarships – offered by Catching the Dream, a non-profit organization specializing in Native American scholarships

✏️ Cobell Scholarship – offered by Indigenous Education, Inc.

✏️ Full Circle & Tribal College Scholarships – offered through the American Indian College Fund

✏️ Scholarship Finder by the Native Forward Scholars Fund

Written by

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Sam Jaquez

Sam is a freelance writer, a blogger, and a bookmark collector. She studied at the University of Massachusetts Boston where she earned a degree in English.

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