Many families, including those with roots in the Cherokee Nation, worry about how to pay for college. Scholarships often ease the financial burden of paying tuition and expenses. Descendants of Cherokee Indians can apply for financial aid through scholarship programs for students with Cherokee heritage. In particular, the Cherokee Nation encourages higher education for its citizens by offering financial support and educational resources. Students may also qualify for Native American scholarships.
Cherokee Nation Scholarship
Descendants of Cherokee Indians should consider applying for trial citizenship in the Cherokee Nation, if they have not done so already. Citizenship depends on being able to prove the descendant's blood lineage to an enrolled citizen of Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee Nation offers financial aid in support of its citizens' educational goals. The Cherokee Nation Scholarships support undergraduate and graduate students who meet the program criteria -- students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and maintain a minimum GPA of 2.0 or good academic standing. Students eligible for Pell Grant assistance through FAFSA don't have a residency requirement, while all others must meet the Cherokee Nation's residency requirements.
Cherokee Promise Scholarship
The Cherokee Nation offers the Cherokee Promise Scholarship in support of Cherokee Indian students from low-income families. The program encourages higher education for students who might otherwise struggle financially to achieve their goals. Applicants must have the same eligibility for Pell Grant support as established by the Cherokee Nation Scholarship program. Recipients must use their funding at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma and live on a residence floor designated for students in the scholarship program. The program also requires participation in the university's Cherokee Cultural Curriculum.
Directed Studies Scholarship Program
The Cherokee Nation's Directed Studies Scholarship Program supports citizens of the Cherokee Nation who are working toward professional degrees. Descendants of Cherokee Indians must be citizens of Cherokee Nation to qualify for this opportunity. The scholarship program prefers to support students enrolled in master's degree programs or professional schools, as well as students enrolled in the upper level of bachelor's degree programs. The scholarship might support other higher-level education pursuits as long as the student has an approved major or plan of study on file with the program.
Scholarships for Cherokee Studies
Descendants of Cherokee Indians can apply for scholarships to support their endeavors in Cherokee Studies, Native American Studies or related subject areas. Western Carolina University in North Carolina, for example, maintains a list of opportunities for students in Cherokee Studies. In particular, the Lucy Ann Nordyke Fellowship Fund prioritizes financial support for Cherokee Indians and descendants of Cherokee Indians who are enrolled in master's degree programs to study history and research topics in Cherokee Indian Studies.
Native American Scholarships
Descendants of Cherokee Indians may also qualify for scholarship programs serving Native American students. For example, the American Indian Education Foundation offers a scholarship program for Native American students. The foundation supports approximately 200 students in their college studies each year. In addition, the Cherokee Nation maintains a list of scholarship opportunities offered by institutions outside of the nation. The list includes scholarships from private foundations and nonprofit organizations, state-specific Cherokee Indian organizations, and specific colleges.
- Cherokee Nation: Citizenship
- Cherokee Nation: College Resources
- Cherokee Nation: Scholarship Opportunities At-a-Glance
- Cherokee Nation: Cherokee Promise Scholarship
- Western Carolina University: Special Scholarship Opportunities for Cherokee Studies Students
- Cherokee Nation: Native American Scholarships
Cindy Chung is a California-based professional writer. She writes for various websites on legal topics and other areas of interest. She holds a B.A. in education and a Juris Doctor.