Applications are now open for the University of Utah Indigenous Student Scholarship Program. The U is among a growing number of higher education institutions that now offer such scholarships, including the University of California system, the University of Arizona and Oregon State.
As part of the initial launch, the Indigenous Student Scholarship will cover Indigenous undergraduate student tuition and compulsory fees not covered by scholarships and grants from all other sources. As additional private funds are raised, the university will expand scholarship offerings to help Indigenous student scholarship recipients meet their proven financial need, with scholarships and grants from all the sources.
“In the past, mainstream society has often believed in the pervasive and harmful myth that Aboriginal students attend university for free. College is a crippling expense for many Indigenous students, and affordability becomes the biggest barrier to earning a college degree,” said Samantha Eldridge, director of the American Indian Resource Center.
Historically, many land-grant institutions have granted tuition waivers to native students as part of their charters. The University of Utah is not a land-grant university, but university leaders are committed to removing barriers for Indigenous students early in their college careers. More importantly, entities such as the American Indian Resource Center help students build lasting connections as a foundation to support them throughout their graduation.
Members of the U community who wish to support the personal, social and academic development of Indigenous students are encouraged to contribute to the Indigenous Student Scholarship Fund in donate here.
“The availability of this scholarship for our Indigenous student population underscores the U’s commitment to providing access to higher education that can transform the lives of Utah students,” said President Taylor Randall, who has announced the program in July 2022 at 16th Annual Native American Governors Summit.
Indigenous undergraduate and full-time degree-seeking students currently enrolled at the University of Utah are the first eligible group to apply for the Spring Semester 2023 scholarships. five years indicate that an average of 120 students identify as American Indian or Alaska Native each year.
Emails with application instructions will be sent to students who have already identified as American Indian. Any currently enrolled Indigenous student who may not have previously identified themselves can request more information and apply to
The priority deadline for full applications is December 8, 2022. The application portal closes on January 9, 2023.
Scholarships for Indigenous students are essential for success in any college or university. In 2022, the National Native Scholarships Providers (NNSP) released its first-ever national study on college affordability for Indigenous students. The report highlighted the multiple barriers that Indigenous students face in pursuing higher education. The Aboriginal student survey revealed that:
- 72% of current college students in the study said they had run out of money at least once in the past six months.
- 67% of current students said they have to contribute to family bills.
- More than half of the participants could not save money before going to college.
- 50% of participants chose their establishment based on the overall cost of attendance.
- 40% of former students have accumulated more than $10,000 in debt
- 16% of current and former students participating in the study said they had been homeless during their higher education.
- The top seven college costs that negatively impact attendees’ education budgets are car maintenance, books, housing, food, gas, utilities, and a cell phone bill.
“The financial barriers that Utah students face can be alleviated through continued investment in scholarships and tuition support. While tuition or financial aid is not the only solution, the university has the opportunity to ensure that Indigenous students reach their full academic potential and succeed after graduation,” said Samantha Eldridge, director of the American Indian Resource Center.
To be eligible for the Indigenous Student Scholarship, students must be enrolled full-time in a degree program at the University of Utah and be a resident of Utah or in receipt of tuition from residents. Eligible students must have a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file each academic year. The scholarship is renewable for up to eight semesters, as long as students continue to make satisfactory academic progress toward graduation. Students must also be a registered and verified member of one of the Utah tribes that are federally recognized for in-state tuition.
from utah recognized tribal nations include: Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, Navajo Nation (Diné), Northwestern Band of the Shoshoni Nation of Utah (Washakie), Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah (Cedar City Band of Paiutes, Band of Kanosh of Paiutes, Koosharem Band of Paiutes, Indian Peaks Band of Paiutes and Shivwits Band of Paiutes), Skull Valley Band of Goshute Indians of Utah, Ute Indian Tribe of Uintah & Ouray Reservation, Ute Mountain Tribe of the Ute Mountain Reservation, Hopi , Zuni and Shoshone-Bannock.
High school students and those planning to transfer to the University of Utah will be able to apply for their scholarships for the FALL 2023 Semester START DATE. Scholarship recipients and scholarship amounts will be announced at summer 2023, before the start of the fall semester.
Bursaries are also available for needy Indigenous students who may not qualify for this new offer. Graduate students and members of non-federally recognized tribes are encouraged to connect with one or more of the following resources. American Indian Services, located in Lehi, Utah, is dedicated to helping Native Americans access a quality education, while preserving their culture and honoring their heritage. The American Indian College fonds provides financial support to Native American students and tribal colleges and universities, and also supports programs for institutional growth, sustainability, and cultural preservation. And the Indigenous Scholars Fund has empowered more than 20,000 students from more than 500 tribes in all 50 states by providing scholarships and service support for undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees.