Challenge Grants

AIS Banner Challenge Grants create new scholarships for Native American students at schools like Black Hills State University
in South Dakota. (Photo courtesy of Black Hills State University.

Many colleges, even those with relatively large Native American populations, do not have sufficient resources to help these students. The need for financial assistance, coupled with a sense of isolation and lack of support, discourages many minority students from pursuing higher education.

The Challenge Grant service acts as a catalyst for the creation of new Native American scholarships by encouraging public and tribal colleges to seek funds specifically for this purpose. The AIEF program offers up to $20,000 annually, at selected schools,* for three years to match new gifts.

Donors are typically more generous when they know their gifts will be multiplied by a challenge grant.

The money goes to work immediately at each institution, allowing bright and talented students to focus on their studies instead of financial concerns. In addition, the Challenge Grant service draws attention to the needs of Native American students at partnering institutions.

Each partner institution must provide a student center for Native Americans, which helps counter the sense of isolation that many minority students experience. Our staff also visits scholarship students throughout the year to offer advice and encouragement.

We know that the resources our donors commit to helping these students will pay dividends far into the future.

* Priority is given to institutions located in the states of: Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Hawaii, Idaho, Nebraska, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. Post Secondary Institutions ONLY can download the Challenge Grant application, but at this time, we are not accepting new applications. Please contact RaeAnne Schad at 866-866-8642 or if you have any questions. If you are a Native American student in need of emergency assistance, please talk to your on-campus advisor.