What are Scholarships and Grants for Navajo People?
After all the hard work to arrive on the cusp of attending college, figuring out how to pay for the coursework can seem daunting. Scholarships and scholarship opportunities for underrepresented minorities offer significant financial aid in many areas, aside from student loans. There are many options for scholarship awards and scholarship programs offered to the Indian community and the Navajo people, as long as the students can meet eligibility and certain qualifications. Normally, high school juniors and seniors can look to these programs after they apply for their prospective higher education programs, both in-state and for out of state.
The FAFSA, a free application for federal student aid, is a good way to determine your financial aid for higher education needs, using a needs analysis, as long as you are a college student and can prove enrollment. Scholarships and grant programs can be granted in many ways to students eligible through the FAFSA, as long as you complete the application process. Scholarships and grants can be used for work-study programs, non-profit involvement, and for four-year full-time students enrolled in colleges and university programs. Higher education grants and scholarships are offered for a range of educational fields and college education programs, like health professions.
There are a number of organizations that provide college scholarship funds to Navajo high school graduates as well as educational grant money. Approximately 70 active award sources are available for Native American students every year. Aside from Navajo Nation financial aid, there are other funds for American Indian students striving for a degree. There is the American Indian College Fund, Indian Health Service Scholarship, an American Indian Graduate Center, tribal scholarships, and even tribal colleges that can offer funds for needed aid to undergraduate students who are a part of the Navajo people or can prove their tribal affiliation.
Chief Manuelito Scholarship
Nearly 150 Navajo students are granted a lucrative scholarship each year from the Chief Manuelito scholarship. Founded in 1980, the scholarship is valued at $7,000 annually. It is given to a student based on high school grade point average and ACT test scores.
Do your homework before filling out the Chief Manuelito scholarship application to ensure you qualify for this lucrative student schooling award.
Navajo Tribal Utility Authority
The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority offers a $2,000 scholarship per academic year. Navajo students who are pursuing a bachelor’s or master’s degree in the following fields can take advantage of this scholarship:
- Business management
- Accounting or information technology
Students who intern at the NTUA can bump that up to $2,500 a year. The scholarship is offered to those who have a 2.0 GPA or higher.
Navajo Generating Station Scholarship
If you have a 3.0 GPA or higher and plan to major in engineering, environmental studies or mathematics, then this scholarship should definitely be on your radar. The Navajo Generating Station scholarship funds tribal students who are entering their third year of undergraduate classes. The amount that students are awarded is dependent on their financial needs, parental support and living situation.
ONNSFA Navajo Nation Graduate Fellowship
The Office of Navajo Nation Scholarship & Financial Assistance, or ONNSFA, offers the Navajo Nation Graduate Fellowship to students applying to master’s and doctoral programs. The scholarship gives priority to schools that offer matching funds to the Navajo Nation or its college-bound students.<br> <br> Graduate students can be full or part time when they submit a regular letter of acceptance to the graduate program of study. They will also need a regular letter of admission from the graduate school. Full-time grad students are awarded a minimum of $5,000 and a maximum of $10,000.
Graduates need to be enrolled in a minimum of nine to 12 courses within the approved major. ONNSFA has a complete list of procedures, rules and program policy information for those who apply to the fellowship.
Navajo and Native American Students
Aside from the Navajo-specific scholarships and grants, students with an American Indian heritage are given the opportunity to apply to financial aid programs that are set up for those from all tribes. People living in Arizona, New Mexico and Alaska natives, or those with Alaskan backgrounds, are more likely to apply for these programs due to the increase in Navajo populations in those areas.
In order to be eligible for a Navajo or Native American scholarship, the student needs to be enrolled as a member of a federally recognized tribe. A Certificate of Indian Blood or other legal document can be used to show proof of membership in a tribe that is recognized in the U.S.
Students with more than a quarter of Indian blood are more than likely eligible for the Bureau of Indian Affairs scholarships. To apply for a Bureau of Indian Affairs or Office of Indian Education Programs education grant, students must go through their tribe, their area Office of Indian Education or their home agency.
Canadian Financial Aid Considerations
If you are a Native American student who was born in Canada with a minimum of 50 percent Indian blood, you may be eligible to apply for a Title IV federal student aid package. The Jay Treaty of 1794 and subsequent treaties along with U.S. immigration law allows students to apply without having to go through the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.