College Fund provides variety of scholarships

Aug 15th, 2011 | By | Category: 23-1: Beyond Racism, Tribal College News
By Dina Horwedel

SPRING WINNER. American Indian College Fund President Rick Williams congratulates Leila Northbird, Leech Lake Tribal College’s spring 2011 Coca-Cola Scholarship recipient. Photo by Mark Lewer

Many students at tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) may be financially struggling needlessly as they go through college. Instead, they should be applying for scholarships through the American Indian College Fund (the Fund). With awards ranging from $500 to $10,000 and the odds of receiving a scholarship significantly better than winning a state lottery, it makes sense to apply.

TCUs are responsible for choosing scholarship recipients from the applicant pool for general scholarships and awarding them directly to the students. Scholarship amounts for general scholarships range from $500-$2,000. Special scholarships are generally higher award amounts (up to $10,000) than the Fund’s general scholarships. There is an annual deadline for special scholarships applications every June 30.

Having to write an essay sometimes discourages students from completing an online scholarship application. Tammy Miller-Carlson, chief operating officer of the Fund, says that perhaps the word “essay” is intimidating. However, an essay is nothing more than telling one’s story in one’s own words.

Tribal colleges are in a position to make the storytelling process less intimidating for students by providing writing centers to assist with essay-writing skills. Faculty can also stress that storytelling and writing are essential skills that can be used throughout a student’s professional career.

For her part, Alsy Wolfblack, an American Indian College Fund scholarship recipient and student at Northwest Indian College (NWIC, Bellingham, WA) helps recruit students to apply for scholarships through her school’s financial aid office. She says it’s the best way “to earn $1,000 in 30 minutes!”

Iva Croff, a 2011 graduate from Blackfeet Community College (BCC, Browning, MT) with an Associate’s Degree in Blackfeet Culture and Blackfeet Language, received a $5,000 Coca-Cola Scholarship and a $700 general scholarship. “My scholarships not only gave me opportunity as a student, they gave me pride as a mother to be able to help my college kids out with a little money now and then,” she says. “That meant a lot to me, because I went from being the major bread winner in the family for quite a while to near poverty level within three years.”

Recently, the Fund has also designed a marketing toolkit to share with tribal colleges and communities to spread the word about scholarship availability. For a copy, contact Dina Horwedel at or (303) 430-5350. Students can apply for both general and special scholarships online with the Fund at

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