When you are searching for financial aid to help you pay for your college education, there are many different types that you may be offered. Some of your aid may come from scholarships, grants, loans, and work study; and while each of these different types of aid may have their own benefits, it is safe to say that grants offer borrowers the best terms.
For Native American students, the search for financial aid for college is very similar to other American students; however there are many additional grants that may help you pay for your university studies. If you are on the official roll of your tribe, you may be eligible forfederal grants that cover up to the complete costs of your education. Ask your high school counselor to help you apply for these grants once you have spoken with the administration of your particular tribe to make sure you are officially on the roll. Usually this requires that you are at least 1/8 Native American; but this may vary, so speak to tribal authorities to find out for sure.
There may also be Native American Grants for students who are pursuing degrees in traditionally underrepresented areas, such as medicine and education. The purpose of these grants is to encourage Native American students to join these fields to better serve their communities. For these types of grants, you will need to speak to the department of university you have chosen to find out how to qualify. Funds are normally first come, first served; so be sure to contact them as soon as you have officially declared your major in one of these areas.
It is also important that you apply for grants that are intended for minorities of all races, not only those that specify Native American students. Usually, there are many grants for minority students, and if you are looking to accumulate as much financial aid as possible, you will want to apply for as many forms of aid as you can. You will also generally find many more grants during your online grant search if you type in the keyword “minority” rather than “Native American”. Make sure, as with all financial aid, that you have completely filled out a Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as quickly and accurately as possible.