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Tribal Colleges

Chemistry student
at Diné College, AZ

Tribal colleges provide students with access to an affordable higher education, along with important services such as GED coursework, day care, health centers, libraries, computer centers, language preservation classes, community activities, and lifelong learning programs.

Even if Native students think going to college or getting job training is a distant dream, thanks to financial aid packages available through their tribal colleges and scholarships from the American Indian College Fund, earning a college education can be a reality. 

What Is A Tribal College?

Tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) are accredited higher education institutions located on or near Indian reservations. These institutions were established and are operated by American Indian tribes to educate Native people and preserve Native ways, giving students the opportunity to earn a college degree or certificate while embracing who they are as Native people.

Diné College was the first TCU, founded in 1968 by the Navajo nation. Today there are 35 accredited TCUs across the United States. Find a TCU.

TCU Facts

• Thirty-five accredited TCUs serve more than 17,000 Native students enrolled in academic programs;

• TCUs must meet the same academic standards as other colleges and universities;

• Native culture and language are infused throughout curriculum;

• Non-Natives can also attend TCUs;

• TCUs offer programs such as NASA’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics program, which includes prestigious internship and mentoring opportunities;

• TCUs are competitive. Leech Lake Tribal College was ranked by Washington Monthly as the seventh of “America’s 50 Best Community Colleges” in 2010. It was one of two TCUs to earn this recognition.

• TCUs contribute to the economies of their communities. According to a report by the American Indian Higher Education Consortium in 2015, TCUs’ economic impact was approximately equal to the creation of 28,778 jobs.

For more than 25 years, the American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest scholarship provider for American Indians. Thanks to corporate, foundation, tribal, and individual donors, we provide scholarships for Native students seeking to better their lives through higher education. The College Fund accepts scholarship online from January 1 through May 31 every year at Apply today!