Association on American Indian Affairs

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 enrolled in federally recognized, state recognized and tribes not recognized by the federal government that are located in the Continental US and Alaska. 

I am Indian from Central/South America, am a Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, or First Nations from Canada, but I live in the Continental US or Alaska and/or I am a US Citizen.   Do I qualify?

Unfortunately Indians from Central/South American and Hawaiian/Pacific Islanders are not eligible to apply. First Nations students from Canada are unfortunately not eligible to apply with the exception of those from St. Regis Mohawk. Students from Canadian St. Regis must call the scholarship office prior o submitting an application package.

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.

Do you fund summer school?

Unfortunately not. AAIA only funds classes taken during the traditional school year - September - May.

Can I reapply for a scholarship if I have already received one from AAIA in the past?

Yes. Students are eligible to reapply 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.

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. AAIA funds students attending several types of schools – universities, community colleges, tribal colleges, technical colleges and private colleges. All schools must be considered accredited by one or more of the accrediting agencies recognized by the US Department of Education. Attendance outside of the US may be possible, but please call the scholarship office to discuss your situation prior to applying.



When are application packages accepted?

March 3 - June 1, 2015 only.

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. No exceptions.

How do I know if my application has been received?

Please do not call or e-mail the scholarship office to verify receipt of your application package. We do not track applications as they come in. As long as you sent your application to the address provided, it is highly likely that your application is in our office. The US Post Office has options to mail your package and call an 800 number of look online to see when your package was delivered. Please do not send your package with options that require a signature.

Why don't you have an online application process?

The implementation of an online process is extremely expensive (around $25,000 just to set it up and get it running). At this time it is not within our budget to implement an online process without eliminating scholarship awards.

Review and Award Process

Are AAIA scholarships based on need or merit?
AAIA's process is a pre-application process. Therefore, the first step is to write the very best essay that you can. If you make the second round of review, other documentation will be requested. During the second round, we take everything into consideration when assessing your application package including merit and need. (see the essay criteria button that accompanies your grade level category). You must have a minimum of $750 need per semester to be eligible. Other scholarships, loans or monies do not disqualify you from receiving an award, nor does lack of funding automatically qualify you for an award.

How do I know that status of my application?

All applications received by the deadline will be reviewed as soon as possible. We ask that you be patient. We have a very small staff and review team and it takes a long time to input and review all the applications we receive. All applications are in REVIEW STATUS until the end of August.

What documents are required for Round #2?
Documentation regarding merit and financial need will be requested from those students making it to Round #2. These students will be contacted in August. Do not send this documentation with your initial application package.

When do you make decisions about who is awarded?

Our target date for final award is Labor Day, although students may not be notified about final selection until the end of September.

How will I know if I get awarded?

The names of students who are being offered scholarships will be posted under the Scholarship Offers button in the right side bar of the main scholarship page as they are offered and the student will also be notified by e-mail. A formal letter will be sent at the end of September with instructions on how to accept the award. Final awards are not made and checks are not disbursed until the student accepts the award and required documentation is returned.

What are the chances of receiving an award?

Competition is tough.  We generally receive between 500-600 applications per year and award between 11%-12%.

The largest pool of applicants is undergraduate women, then undergraduate men, followed by graduate women, then graduate men.  Students from tribes not recognized by the federal government are eligible for the Allogan Slagle Memorial Scholarship only and are considered separately.

How many scholarships can I get per year?
One scholarship is allowed per student per school year. Students may reapply on a yearly basis.

Keeping My Award


What is the minimum GPA?

AAIA does not require a minimum gpa per se, but individual grades no lower than a "C". is the standard criteria.  We look at several things on a student's initial transcript, including classes taken, class load, lapse in schooling. After award we do expect that students to be making satisfactory progress toward their degree.

Could I lose my scholarship?

Yes. Failing/low gpa, probation, or dropping 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.

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?


Why didn’t I receive a scholarship?

Although we cannot tell you exactly why you didn't get funded, the most common explanation is that we receive many more applications than we have dollars and competition is tough, although funding structure and proportionality also plays into our decisions. Since we receive more undergraduate applications, we award more undergraduate students. Likewise, since we generally receive more applications from women, we generally fund more women. The best thing you can do is read the essay criteria and write the very best essay you can. Being active in your Native community and your willingness to give back to the Native community play a large part. 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.

Other Funding Availability

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.

Is there funding available from non-Native 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.

AAIA Graduates

Recipients 2014-2015

Recipients 2013-2014

Recipients 2012-2013

Recipients 2011-2012

Recipients 2010-2011

Recipients 2009-2010