Oregon Tribal Student Grant available to Native students

Tribal flags at EMU

Applications are now being accepted for the 2022-23 Oregon Tribal Student Grant.

The new grant program, described as important progress toward breaking down the systemic barriers faced by Native Americans for generations, can offset college‐related expenses for eligible Oregon tribal students, including tuition, housing, books and costs not covered by other grants.

“The Oregon Tribal Student Grant is a giant step in the right direction in providing access to higher education for those who have been historically dispossessed of their ancestral lands,” said Jason Younker, chief of the Coquille Indian Tribe and assistant vice president and adviser to the president on sovereignty and government-to-government relations at the University of Oregon.

Oregon lawmakers have allocated $19 million in grant money to pay college expenses for Native students across the state for the 2022-23 academic year.

“Access to education is the single most important treaty provision that never fully materialized,” Younker said. “As a result, we have collectively been stuck in poverty and suffered disproportionately from the rest of society. Education is the proverbial silver bullet.”

Funds can be applied toward undergraduate or graduate study at Oregon public colleges and universities, including the UO. After all federal and state grants and scholarships have been applied, the Oregon Tribal Student Grant can be used toward the remaining cost of attendance.

“Many scholarships cover only tuition,” said Luis Renteria, senior assistant director for multicultural recruitment in the Office of Admissions. “By covering the cost of other necessities like housing and books, this grant can bridge the financial gap that is often a barrier to enrollment for many Native students.”

To be eligible, students must be enrolled members of one of Oregon’s nine federally recognized tribes:

  • Burns Paiute Tribe.
  • Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians.
  • Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.
  • Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians.
  • Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
  • Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
  • Coquille Indian Tribe.
  • Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians.
  • Klamath Tribes.

Students must also be enrolled or accepted for enrollment at an Oregon college or university and submit a valid FAFSA or ORSAA for the 2022-23 academic year. Additional eligibility information can be found on the Oregon Tribal Student Grant website.

“The Oregon Tribal Student Grant is an important investment in Oregon tribal students and our tribal communities,” said Katie Staton, steward of the Many Nations Longhouse. “This funding will directly impact and improve opportunities for Oregon tribal students to access higher education, here at the UO and throughout the state.”

“It is significantly important for our Native students to have the opportunity to learn, earn a degree and return home or find other ways to support their tribal communities,” Staton added.

Funding is limited, so students are encouraged to apply online as soon as possible. Applications are due by Aug. 1.

The Oregon Tribal Student Grant is currently funded for only the 2022-23 academic year. Renewal of the grant for following years is dependent on funding being allocated by the Oregon Legislature.

“While the OTSG is currently a one-year funded program, all Oregon tribes are hopeful that it will lead to a more substantial investment in Oregon’s first peoples. We are grateful and hopeful at the same time,” Younker said.

By Colleen Schlonga, Student Services and Enrollment Management