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Tribal college movement turns 40

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American Indian College Fund provides scholarships

DENVER - In 1968, the Navajo Nation created a first-of-its-kind educational institution named Dine; College, located on the Navajo reservation, established specifically to provide convenient access to quality and culturally relevant higher education to tribal members. With that first step, the tribal college movement was born. Since then, the number of tribal colleges has grown to more than 30 fully accredited colleges and universities, located in 12 states and serving more than 250 American Indian nations from every geographic region in the United States.

Tribal colleges offer coursework for associate, bachelor's and master's degrees, along with certificate programs and continuing education classes. They also preserve language and culture, reversing the trend of years of cultural oppression by integrating these important elements into their curricula.

Tribal college presidents recognized the need to establish an organization to raise private-sector funds for the colleges and to complement the efforts of its sister organization, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium. As a result, the American Indian College Fund was established in 1989.

Since then, AICF has provided college scholarships to eligible American Indian students. This academic year, it will award more than $4 million in scholarships to American Indian students at tribal colleges and mainstream institutions.

The following scholarships are available for the 2008 - 09 school year. Applications are due May 31. For more details about all scholarships, visit

Tribal college students

"The Cartwright Scholarship Program - for men based on financial need. Recipients receive $2,000 and are required to mentor other male students in their community by encouraging them to attend college.

"The Citi Foundation Scholarship Program - $4,000 scholarship to tribal college students in South Dakota.

"The Coca-Cola First Generation Scholarship - $5,000 for tuition, fees and unmet need for a student's first year in college. Students maintaining a 3.0 grade point average with strong participation in campus and community life can continue the scholarship throughout their academic career at a tribal college.

"The Ford Motor Co. Tribal College Scholarship - need-based scholarships for up to $5,000 to students majoring in math, science, engineering, business, teacher training or environmental science at a tribal college.

"The General Mills Foundation - need-based scholarships of $2,000 to outstanding tribal college students currently enrolled in Minnesota and New Mexico.

"The Lilly Foundation - one $8,000 Distinguished Scholar Award to a graduating valedictorian or salutatorian of their 2008 high school class, and one $8,000 Keepers of the Next Generation Award to a single-parent student demonstrating exceptional academic achievement.

"The Morgan Stanley Tribal Scholars Program - $2,500 annually to outstanding tribal college students currently enrolled with an interest in business and financial services.

"The Nissan North America Inc. Scholarship - $3,000 annually to outstanding tribal college students.

"The Sovereign Nations Scholarship Fund Endowment - a permanent endowment supported by American Indian Nations and American Indian-owned businesses. The American Indian College Fund awards $2,000 scholarships to tribal college students.

"The Time Warner Scholarship - $2,500 to outstanding tribal college students.

"The Winners for Life Foundation - $2,000 to young tribal college students based on academic achievement and unmet need.

Mainstream institution students

"Morgan Stanley Scholarships - up to $10,000 for outstanding students who have an interest in the business and financial services industry and attend a mainstream four-year institution.

"The Ford Motor Co. Scholarship - need-based scholarships of up to $10,000 for deserving students at mainstream four-year institutions who are majoring in accounting, computer, electrical or mechanical engineering, finance, information systems, marketing or operations management.

"The Nissan North America Inc. Scholarship - $5,000 to selected students attending a mainstream four-year institution.

"The Sovereign Nations Scholarship Fund Endowment - a permanent endowment supported by American Indian nations and American Indian-owned businesses.

Graduate students

"The Sovereign Nations Scholarship Fund - $2,000 scholarships to students pursing a graduate-level degree.

"The Vine Deloria Jr. Memorial Scholarship - for graduate students.