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Frequently Asked Questions About Scholarships

Where and how do I apply?

- To apply, go to and choose the appropriate scholarship category (undergraduate attending a tribal college, undergraduate attending a mainstream college, or graduate student) to begin the application process. 

When are applications open?
- Full Circle scholarship applications are open from January 1st to May 31st each year.
- TCU scholarship applications open on August 1st for the fall semester and January 1st for the spring semester every year, although deadlines vary by school. Contact your financial aid office for details.

When will I be notified if I am awarded or not?
- Notification emails will be sent to all applicants by early August to notify you if you have been awarded or not awarded. Letters will also be mailed to all recipients at that time. Additionally, students may log into the online application system at any time to check the status of their application under the “Applications” tab. “Pending” indicates that no decision has been made yet; it changes to “Awarded” or “Not Awarded” only when selections are complete. For the Full Circle program, this is generally by early August at the latest; for TCU scholarships, the date varies by school. Contact your financial aid office for details.

Is eligibility based on blood quantum (blood degree or percentage)?
- No, your eligibility is determined by your enrollment in a state or federally recognized tribe or the ability to prove descendancy to a parent or grandparent who was/is an enrolled member.

Which tribes are eligible to apply?
- Any member of a state or federally recognized tribe or Alaska Native village is eligible to apply. You can also be eligible by proving descendancy to a parent or immediate grandparent that is/was an enrolled member of a state or federally recognized tribe or Alaska Native village.

How would I be eligible based on descendancy?
- To be eligible based on descendancy, you must provide tribal enrollment documentation of your parent(s) or immediate grandparent(s) and birth certificates that connect you to the parent/grandparent.

Am I eligible if I’m a Canadian citizen or a member of a Canadian tribe (i.e. First Nations, Blood Tribe, etc.)?
- No, unless you are attending an American college and are eligible under the terms of the Jay Treaty.

What is the difference between a TCU and a mainstream college?
- A TCU refers to tribal colleges and universities, which are generally tribally-owned and operated. There are currently 35 accredited TCUs across the country, as shown in this map.
- A mainstream college or university is any educational institution that is not tribally-owned; this includes universities, colleges, community colleges, and other not-for-profit educational institutions.

What is the difference between the TCU scholarship program and the Full Circle scholarship program?
- The TCU scholarship program is for tribal college students. It is administered each semester by the financial aid office of each tribal college and university. This means that the deadlines and requirements vary according to each TCU. Contact your financial aid office for more information.
- The Full Circle scholarship program is for both tribal college and mainstream students. This program provides academic year-long scholarships (2 semesters) and is administered by the American Indian College Fund. Students must be enrolled full-time and have a minimum 2.0 GPA. There are also graduate scholarships available through the Full Circle scholarship.

How do I apply for a specific scholarship (APS, Estee Lauder, Coke, Toyota, Nissan, etc.)?
- You don’t. By submitting your TCU and/or Full Circle scholarship application, you will be considered for all the programs you are eligible for based on the information provided in your application.

Is my school eligible?
- If your school is a tribal college or a public or private (non-profit) mainstream college or university, you are eligible to apply. If you are not sure if your private school is a not-for-profit institution, you can check here. For-profit college and university students are not eligible.

What does the application consist of?
- The application requires you to submit the information and essay electronically and upload the necessary documents.

Is my scholarship continuous/renewable?
- No, each student must resubmit an application every year, regardless if they were awarded a scholarship the previous year.

What should I put in the essay?
- To write a great essay, be sure to answer each of the three questions that are listed within the application. Use professional language and make sure to use the spell/grammar check feature provided. Other tips for writing a winning scholarship essay can be found here.

What if I don't see my tribe, major, or school as an option in the drop down menu when I type it into the "Search" bar?
- If this happens, you need to choose "Other" from the drop down menu and then manually type it in. We try to have the majority of possible tribes, majors, and schools available however, so double check the spelling before choosing "Other."

Does my transcript(s) have to be official?
- No, your transcript can be unofficial but it must contain your cumulative GPA, not just the term GPA.

Can I leave the GPA box blank if I am just out of high school or finished high school many years ago?
- No, the GPA box must be filled with your most recent cumulative GPA, even if that is from a high school transcript. Whether you graduated high school a few months ago or a few decades ago, you need to use your most recent or last cumulative GPA which can be found on your transcript.

Do I need to turn in a new transcript after the semester is over?
- No, Your application will be evaluated based on the information you provided at the time of submission, however, if being considered for an award, students attending non-tribal colleges and universities will be asked to send in a copy of their final spring transcript and fall class schedule to verify eligibility. Tribal College students’ documents will be verified directly with their school.

The online application is now open to all college students.


For more information about American Indian College Fund scholarships for tribal college students, please contact a member of the Student Success Services team at 800-776-3863.

American Indian College Fund TCU Scholarship Program Deadlines: Please contact your financial aid office at your tribal college for deadline information. Awards are made through the tribal college. Good luck!

American Indian College Fund Full Circle Scholarship Program Deadlines: Applications are accepted from students beginning January 1 and ending May 31 of each year. The American Indian College Fund determines student eligibility and awards the scholarships. Award and denial notices will be mailed out to all applicants by August each year to the address listed on the application.