Emergency Funds Grant

For Native American college students, the dream of higher education can be shattered by financial crises that might seem small to more fortunate Americans.

We partner with several colleges to help students through financial emergencies and stay in school. We partner with more than a dozen colleges to help students stay in school despite financial emergencies.
Read our Success Stories!

The Emergency Funds Grant service provides modest grants to selected* colleges, universities, and technical schools in the Plains and Southwest states. These institutions can then provide assistance to students when unexpected expenses threaten their ability to stay in school. (See below for priority states.)

We do not award Emergency Funds directly to individuals. The grants are distributed only by participating colleges, universities, or technical/vocational schools. If you are a Native American student in need of emergency assistance, please talk to your on-campus advisor.

Small Grants, Big Results

Public and tribal institutions may apply for the competitive grants for up to three years. Currently, 15 partner schools receive annual grants of $4,000, which they can distribute to full-time students. Recipients must volunteer three hours in the school or community as compensation for the awards. In 2005 and 2006, 98% of students who received the emergency funds were able to complete the semester.

American Indian College Public and tribal institutions can apply to participate in the the Emergency Funds service.

We recognize that acute financial need can arise from many sources such as illness or injury, loss of a part-time job, or the need to pay for vehicle repairs, utility hook-ups, or books and lab fees. Because these funds are distributed through each school’s Native student center, recipients can also find mentoring, counseling, and other support.
For example, a student in Oregon faced a deeply challenging personal situation when his mother died unexpectedly, and he turned to his student advisor for help. The school’s grant provided funding for him to attend his mother’s funeral, and he was then able to return to school and continue his studies.

The Emergency Funds Grant service has helped many students such as this, because a small financial boost can be all it takes to help a Native American student succeed in college.

Here are some Success Stories from the Emergency Funds service.

“I am writing this letter in regards to the emergency fund that I received through the diversity program. I received four hundred dollars that was used towards my rent. I had broken my ankle and was out of work. I was a full-time student and also a mother of two. Without the help of the emergency fund I would have had to leave school and find work to pay my rent. Thank you very much for your generosity, it was a blessing.”

Jada J.

“This emergency fund for me was timely and helpful. It was at a stage in my life when financial difficulties occurred. Having a small emergency fund like this seems insignificant yet, when a student is broke this means a lot. If the service wasn’t here I probably would have to drop out and work until I had enough resources.... Thanks a million!”

Shane S.

* 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.