How do scholarships work?

There are two basic types of scholarships: Need-based & Merit-based scholarships.
Need-based scholarships are awarded based on your financial need.
Merit-based scholarships are awarded based on your talents, leadership, community service, honors, awards, and are not directly tied to your financial need.

Where do I find Scholarships?

Below are some great places to begin your scholarship search.

  • Tribal Education departments
  • Tribal Foundations
  • Private scholarships
  • Civic organizations
  • University scholarships (Most universities will have scholarships you may be eligible for based on your college application)
  • Native American and Indigenous scholarships
  • Scholarship search engines (Set up a profile with scholarship search engines such as

Scholarship Tips & Resources

  • Make sure to dedicate time every week to your scholarship search.
  • Apply for every eligible opportunity, regardless of the award amount. Remember that small amounts add up.
  • Keep applying.  Scholarships are not limited to incoming freshman.
  • Remember that not all scholarships are renewable so keep searching for new scholarships every year.
  • You don’t need a 4.0 GPA to apply for a scholarship.  Most scholarships may also consider your school, community, and tribal involvement.
  • Keep a record of all your awards, leadership roles, community service, and tribal involvement.
  • Make sure to proofread and edit the scholarship application before submitting.
Did you know?

Scholarships come in a variety of award amounts. We encourage you to apply for the large-dollar scholarships but remember that there are THOUSANDS of smaller award opportunities that receive far fewer applicants.