Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to be Native American to qualify for an AAIA scholarship?
Yes. All applicants must be enrolled tribal citizens.
Do I have to be from a specific tribe or region of the country to qualify?
AAIA scholarships are open to students from all federally recognized, state recognized and non-recognized tribes in the continental US and Alaska.
I am Indian from Central/South America or am a Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. Do I qualify?
Unfortunately you are not eligible. Only applicants from tribes from the continental US and Alaska are eligible to apply for AAIA scholarships, even if living in the US or having US citizenship.
I am Indian from Canada or from a Canadian tribe, but living in the US and/or a US citizen. Do I qualify?
Students from Canadian tribes are not eligible to apply for AAIA scholarships even if living in the US or having US citizenship with the exception of students from St. Regis Mohawk. Applicants from St. Regis are asked to call the scholarship office to discuss their situation prior to applying.
Are AAIA scholarships based on need, merit, or both?
We take everything into consideration when assessing your application package - merit, need, participation in your community, past accomplishments, goals for the future...Only
an essay, copy of tribal enrollment and application page are required for initial assessment. Students making it to Round #2 will be contacted and requested to send additional information. Your essay is key in making it to the 2nd Round. Financial need will be assessed in Round #2. Other scholarships, loans or monies do not disqualify you from receiving an award. Lack of other funding does not constitute automatic qualification for award.
I am a part time student. Do I qualify?
Unfortunately not. All AAIA scholarships are for students enrolled full time both fall and spring semesters.
Degrees and Schools
Do I have to be seeking a certain type of degree to qualify?
Yes. Students must be seeking an Associate's degree or higher in order to qualify. AAIA does not fund certificate programs, but if you are getting an Associate's degree or higher at a technical school, you would qualify. Additionally, we do not fund seminary or theology students, but if you are getting a non-religion degree such as nursing, at a religious based institution you would qualify.
Do I have to be attending a specific school or a school in a specific part of the country to qualify?
Students do not have to be attending a specific school or a school in a specific region of the country. Attendance outside of the US may be possible, but please call the scholarship office to discuss your situation prior to applying.
Do I have to be attending a certain type of school to qualify?
Yes. All schools must be considered accredited by the US Department of Education.
AAIA funds students attending several types of schools – universities, community colleges, tribal colleges, technical colleges and private colleges.
Do you fund summer school?
Unfortunately not. AAIA only funds classes taken during the traditional school year - September - May.
When are application packages accepted?
AAIA awards for the entire school year, not by semester. We have one acceptance period which changes slightly from year to year. We post information on our website each February for the upcoming school year. See the Acceptance Period button at the bottom of the main scholarship page of this website each February for specific dates.
Are there exceptions to the deadline?
Due to the limited number of documents required for the initial application process, no exceptions will be made to the deadline. Exceptions may be made in rare cases for students making it through the initial application process who have been invited to submit additional documents for consideration.
Why don't you have an online application process?
The implementation of an online process is extremely expensive (around $20,000 just to set it up and get it running). At this time, due to budgeting limitations, we would rather award more students than spend funds on administration of the program. Hopefully at some time in the future an online application process will be implemented.
Can my application package be e-mailed or faxed?
Due to limited staff, the number of applications received and number of e-mails received, we require all applications be mailed.
Do applications need to be in the office by the deadline or postmarked by the deadline?
All scholarship packages are to be received in our office by 5:00 pm Eastern time the day of the deadline, not postmarked on the deadline day. Do not procrastinate. Each year we receive a large number of applications after the deadline that are not considered because they weren't received on time (81 for the 2012-2013 school year.) It’s sad to see students put so much effort into completing an application package, or wait and then spend the money to send it via express mail, FedEx, or UPS only to have it not arrive in our office on time. To ensure your application is reviewed, please start the application process early.
How do I know if my application has been received?
Please do not call the scholarship office inquiring about receipt of your application. As long as you sent your application to the correct address (listed at the bottom of the main scholarship page under the "Mail to" section) it is highly likely that it is in our office, but has not been processed yet.
Although probably not necessary, you may wish to consider sending your application with delivery confirmation through the US Post Office. Delivery confirmation requires that you send your mail Priority Mail, which is currently $5.15, plus the cost of delivery confirmation. Delivery confirmation allows you to check on-line or via the phone to verify receipt by entering the tracking number to see when your package was delivered.
We receive 80% of applications on the last 2 days, often through delivery services or through the mail with return receipt/signature required (because we're a business, they're required to obtain a signature.) Sending your package via Fed Ex, UPS or express mail/return receipt is not as efficient as delivery confirmation. We do not make exceptions for misdirected, delayed, or undeliverable mail.
Do not wait until the last few days before the deadline expecting your application to arrive on time. Start early.
Review and Award Process
How do I know that status of my application?
AAIA has a late deadline for the benefit of our applicants. Due to our late deadline, our decisions are made late in the season. Unfortunately we have a very small staff and review team and it takes a long time to input and review all the applications we receive, therefore we cannot tell you the exact status of your application.
Between the deadline date and the end of August all applications are considered "under review". We ask for your patience while we review applications, contact 2nd Round applicants and make our final selections. If you are not contacted by the end of August you unfortunately will not be awarded this year.
We will contact you sometime in August if you make it through Round #1 and additional information is required. It is essential that your e-mail and phone number on your application are legible and your contact information is up to date. Make sure we can contact you. You will be e-mailed at the address listed. If your e-mail bounces back and we cannot contact you we will make one phone call. Please make sure there is a responsible person available to take a message or that your voice mail is set up. If we can't contact you we will move on to another applicant.
Due to staffing limitations, we do not send regret letters or contact applicants who are not selected for award. If you are not contacted by the end of August, you unfortunately are not awarded this year. We encourage you to apply again next year. If you need a regret letter in order to get another scholarship, please contact our office.
What documents are required for Round #2?
Students making it to Round #2 will be contacted with a list of additional documentation to submit. Generally transcripts, class schedule, financial information and letters of recommendation are required. Please do not send this documentation with Round #1 documentation.
When do you make decisions about who is awarded?
As indicated above, we have a late deadline. Our target date for final award is Labor Day, although on occasion students who make it through Round #2 and have submitted additional information may not be notified about final selection until the end of September.
How will I know if I get awarded?
Students who make it through Round #1 and submit additional information for review should watch our website throughout August and September. There will be a Pending Recipients button in the right side bar. Students to be offered awards will be posted as they are selected and students can expect further communication on how to accept their award. If you are no longer in need of funding, please contact our office so funding can be directed to another student.
An award offer will be mailed to students at the address listed on their application under “Where do you want your mail sent while you are at school” if one is listed. Otherwise your offer will be mailed to your permanent address.
Final awards are not made and checks are not disbursed until signed offers and required information is returned.
What are the chances of receiving an award?
AAIA is funded through the generosity of our donors and those who left us bequests in their will for the specific purpose of providing funding for the higher education of Native students. Competition is tough. We generally receive over 500 applications per year (over 650 for the 2012-2013 school year). The largest pool of applicants is undergraduate women, then undergraduate men, followed by graduate women, then graduate men. Students from non-recognized tribes are eligible for the Allogan Slagle Memorial Scholarship only and are considered separately. We generally award approximately 11-12% of the applications received, although numbers may vary from year to year due to our funding ability in any given year. Awards are proportional to number of applicants in each category.
How many scholarships can I get per year?
One scholarship is allowed per student per school year. (You cannot get one of our regular scholarships and apply for emergency aid too). Students can receive a scholarship in the spring (the end of one school year) and fall (the beginning of another school year).
Can I reapply for a scholarship if I have already received one from AAIA in the past?
Yes. Students are eligible to apply on a yearly basis, but still have to go through the competitive process. Receiving a scholarship one year does not entitle you to receive scholarships in subsequent years. We do not retain application packages of recipients in our office so you must re-submit all documentation if you are reapplying, even if you have received a scholarship in the past. You may re-submit the same essay/letters of recommendation if you like, but don't assume that just because it worked the first time that it will work the second time around. Remember, you're competing with a whole different applicant pool and we receive many excellent candidates each year. It's best to update your essay and letters of recommendation each time you apply because you have had additional experiences over the past year.
Keeping My Award
What is the minimum GPA?
Prior to award, poor grades on a transcript does not automatically disqualify you from being eligible to receive an award. Nor do good grades automatically qualify you to receive an award. We consider the entire application package. We understand anyone can have a bad semester, therefore AAIA does not require a minimum gpa per se. We do expect that students will continue to make satisfactory progress toward their degree. We are willing to work with you to keep your scholarship if we're aware there is a problem. Please contact our Rockville office if you are getting less than a C in any single class or if you have a situation that requires dropping below full time status to discuss your situation.
Could I lose my scholarship?
Yes. If you are failing a class, have a low gpa, get sick, drop below full time, or you have other circumstances that may affect your eligibility status, contact our office immediately. Do not wait until the end of the semester to contact us or wait for us to contact you. Nobody likes surprises. There is nothing worse for you as a student than turning in grades at the end of the semester only to find that you won’t be funded for the next semester. Likewise, it's disappointing for us not to be able to fund you for the next semester. We are accountable to the people who provided funding to us for your scholarships. Please respect these relationships.
What if I am receiving a scholarship and want to transfer to another school in the middle of the year?
In most instances your scholarship can be transferred. If you plan to transfer to another school in the middle of the year please contact our office prior to your transfer. Verification of accreditation, a new financial needs analysis and contact information will be needed from your new school as well as an updated address for yourself. If we are unaware that you transferred you may not receive your check or you may lose your scholarship.
Why Didn't I Receive a Scholarship & Is Other Funding Available?
Why didn’t I receive a scholarship?
Although we cannot tell you exactly why you didn't get funded, AAIA’s scholarship program, as with all of our programs, is funded through the generosity of our donors, therefore our funding structure changes from year to year and we have a specific budget for scholarships.
The number one reason students aren't awarded is that competition is tough and we have more applicants than money. Selecting recipients is a very time consuming and a very difficult process because we have so many qualified applicants. We receive over 500 applications per year, much more than our budget allows. Many students do not get awarded the first time they apply. If you do not get awarded this year we encourage you to reapply next year.
A strong essay is key to receiving a scholarship. I would encourage students to have several people who know you well (friends, family, professors, clergy) read your essay for content, spelling and grammar before submitting it. See more on the essay content under the Required Documents section.
Students must have at least $750 need for both fall and spring semester. If your total need is less than $750 per semester you will not be awarded.
Students must be enrolled full time both fall and spring semester. If you are not enrolled full time both fall and spring semester you will not be awarded.
If you did not submit all required documentation, you will not be awarded.
Students who were previously awarded and did not comply with requirements will not be awarded.
Is there funding available from other Native organizations?
See the Other Scholarship Opportunities button at the bottom of the main scholarship page of our website. You will find links to other organizations that provide funding to Native American students as well as links to search engines. Some of the links are to scholarships for non-native students as well. Other than scholarships provided by AAIA partners in the Native Ways Federation (denoted by an *) or US Government, AAIA does not endorse any of these resources. They are provided for students to research on their own. Please use your own discretion as to the validity of these sources.
Students may also want to check with local civic organizations (Rotary Club, Kiwanis, Lion's Club), churches, businesses in your field that may be willing to do a work payback program or employer programs (will your place of employment pay for you to go to school to gain more training in exchange for working for them after you graduate? Does your parent's place of employment offer scholarships to children of employees?), banks and credit unions (are you eligible to apply for scholarships if you have an account there?). If you are not 100% Native check for funding from your other heritage. There are many cultural organizations that provide funding (Latin-American Club, Polish-American Club, German-American Club). You may also be eligible for funding through specific social service programs, working mom programs, vocational rehabilitation programs, veterans programs, and state workforce development programs. Scholarships are available to students with specific illnesses and disabilities as well. Check to see if there are scholarships specific to your state or region, specific to your school or department within your school. If you are from another country and part Native American you might also check with your embassy to see if they have information on scholarship opportunities. Many of the search engines on our website have excellent filters that can help you pin point scholarships.
Please see the General Information and Required Documents sections of this website for additional information.