Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: I believe I’m Native American/Alaskan Native, how do I go about proving this in order to qualify for N.A/A scholarships?

A: First of all you will not be eligible immediately for any Native American scholarships if you are not enrolled in a tribe. It’s not the Bureau of Indian Affairs or any other Federal agency that determines if you are Indian, it is the tribe.  You will need to prove this by first contacting the tribe directly to determine what their enrollment criteria is and what documentation you will need to provide. You should start by developing a “family tree” and listing out which lineage you are claiming Indian descent. This is a long and hard process. You will need names of parents, grandparents and if possible you will need maiden names if you are looking at grandmother or great grandmother lineage. Many Native American scholarships require one to provide “proof” of enrollment via C.D.I.B or other documentation from the tribe directly.

Q: Does P.S.U offer scholarships specifically for N.A/A.N students?

A: No, Portland State University does not offer scholarships exclusively for Native American or Alaskan Natives. The University does provide the Diversity Scholarship for first generation students of color. The scholarship is a tuition fee remission award and is competitive. There are G.P.A requirements but if all requirements are met, the scholarship is renewable. P.S.U Foundations also has scholarships for all students.

Q: I’m thinking of returning back to school to pursue a graduate degree, does P.S.U offer graduate scholarships for N.A/A.N students? 

A: No, Portland State University does not offer blanket scholarships exclusively for Native American or Alaskan Native. Portland State University does have a listing of graduate and foundation scholarships available in specialty programs. You may need to contact the department and program you are considering or graduate studies.  We strongly encourage students to contact the American Indian Graduate Center ( This organization provides a wealth of information for graduate and professional scholarship opportunities as well as limited scholarships.

Q: Does P.S.U offer tuition waivers or admission fees waivers for N.A/A.N students?

A: No, Portland State University does no provide tuition fee waivers for N.A/A.N students. Nor does P.S.U provide registration fee waivers for N.A/A.N students. You can obtain an “exemption” in some cases which delays “advanced tuition payments” but this still does not relive you of fees. As an O.U.S institution P.S.U does provide “resident status” for students enrolled in federally recognized Oregon tribes and some tribes in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oklahoma and Washington, provided are listed under O.A.R 580-010-0037 classification having traditional and customary tribal boundaries that included parts of Oregon. This means if you are a member of one of these tribes, regardless of residency, you can be classified resident tuition.

Q: Where can I find N.A/A.N scholarships?

A: First of all don’t sell yourself short by applying for only “Indian” scholarships. Many of these scholarships have limited funds and as such they are competitive. Further these resources generally have more applicants than they can fund. Also many scholarship resources require you apply for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) in addition. You will need to do some research on these resources. There is no “One Application Applies to All!” Above all don’t just apply only to Indian scholarships, there is a wealth of scholarship resources that go begging for Indian applicants. To start you off on your search here is a sampling of listings:,,,  Don’t overlook applying to local organizations as well such as; Toastmasters, unions, Eagles, Elks, Lions, businesses, etc. Lastly don’t overlook your tribe, be sure to inquire about tribal deadlines and documentation.

Q: I need a job while attending school, where can I find a job? Will I be able to work at the N.A.S.C.C?

A: The N.A.S.C.C because of budget limitations only hires students who are eligible for Federal Work Study. Further N.A.S.C.C employment is not limited to Native American / Alaskan Native students. Employment is open to all students. The N.A.S.S Program also works with students to identify employment and internship opportunities in the Portland metro area programs and organizations. The N.A.S.S maintains contact with local Native American programs and organizations who might offer part time/full time employment opportunities.  Additionally the N.A.S.S encourages students to utilize P.S.U Career Center for Careers & Employment. Check job openings at P.S.U as well as Human Resources.

Q: What is the N.A/A.N population at P.S.U?

A: Over a ten year period from 1999 to 2009, P.S.U has grown from 224 to 364 Native American / Alaskan Native student population. Currently per 2010 the N.A/A.N population is estimated to be 336. P.S.U Native American / Alaskan Native students are comprised of 35% from Oregon federally recognized tribes with the remainder representing tribes from across the United States.