Native Scholars 101


The College Fund now offers a Tribal College Transfer Pathway program to eligible students in order to guide and assist in the transfer process. Learn more about the program and eligibility requirements here.

Also be sure to follow them on social media for updates and tips specific to transfer students.

How much will college cost?

This first question is difficult to answer. The cost varies widely depending on whether the college is a two-year public community college, four-year public college or university, or a four-year private institution. Consider these 2009 average college costs from The College Board:

  • Two year public college (per year)*- $ 2,544
  • Four-year public college (per year)*- $ 7,020
  • Four-year private college (per year)*- $26,273

*The costs listed above for two-year and four-year public colleges are for in-state students

In-State Versus Out-of-State Tuition

State (public) colleges and universities get the money they need to operate from tuition and from taxes paid by state residents. So, students within that state pay a lower cost. Because out-of-state students haven’t been paying tax dollars into that state, they are charged more through tuition.

These colleges also may have a lower price tag to entice graduates to stay in that state. College graduates are more likely to have good jobs, pay taxes, and contribute to the state’s economy.

Whether a student pays in-state or out-of-state tuition isn’t always set in stone. Consider these facts:

  • If a student is a “top performer” (someone with an excellent grade point average or test scores), some colleges may reduce (or eliminate) the extra cost for out-of-state tuition.
  • Some states with declining populations of college-age residents may reduce out-of-state tuition costs.
  • Some state colleges have agreed to a “reciprocity compact.” This means that a state has an agreement with neighboring states to reduce (or eliminate) the extra cost of out-of-state tuition. For example, Minnesota has reciprocity agreements with Wisconsin, North Dakota, and South Dakota as well as with the Canadian province of Manitoba. There are four regional reciprocity compacts: Western Undergraduate Exchange, Academic Common Market, Midwestern Higher Education, and the New England Board of Higher Education.

Tips for scholarship searching

  • Start narrow
  • Red flags: Fees, Contest-style scholarships
  • Ask around: Tribal Ed office, Financial Aid office of your new and current school, etc.
  • If you are transferring to a mainstream school, don’t forget that you can still apply for our Full Circle Scholarship program- learn more here and then continue your scholarship search on our Additional Scholarship Resources page.

Free online video resource: FATV 

FATV is a free online resource to help answer your financial aid questions through brief videos. This may be especially helpful if you’re entering a mainstream school with federal and private loan options. Knowledge is power!


While the overall structure may be the same, transferring to a different university is a huge transition. This can be stressful, and can also be exciting.

Tips for transitions

Here are some great posts to help you transition to your new university:

Motivation – Believe in yourself:

Organizing a file of essential documents which contains:

  • Birth Certificate – you can obtain your birth certificate at the county courthouse if you don’t have a copy.
  • Parent Tax Information
  • Proof of Residency – official mail addressed to you proving where you live.
  • Identification Cards – State I.D., Tribal I.D., and Driver’s License
  • High School Transcripts,
  • Certificate of Indian Blood or Proof of Tribal Enrollment
  • Social Security Card
  • SAT or other college approved test scores.
  • Medical Records that include immunization records
  • Resume

Scanning these documents and saving them on a jump drive/or email them to yourself, then you are always prepared.

Time Management

With new surroundings come new challenges. As you adjust to your new surroundings may be a good idea to review our time management tips and suggestions page.

Financial Literacy

Transferring to a new school, and likely to a new location altogether, can be a strain for your finances. Explore our Common Cents page to review tips on making a budget (and allowing for flexibility of unforeseen expenses) and managing debt, among others.

Self Care

In the world of deadlines and papers and classes, it can be hard to make time for yourself. However, holistic care during this time of transition is extremely important.

Keep tabs on your well-being mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, and take breaks or reach out to others when needed. Keep in touch with your tribal community, family, and friends to help ground you and strengthen your journey.

See our page dedicated to Self-Care to learn more.


Mentorship can be especially beneficial as you make important decisions about your future. Make time to cultivate relationships with professors, upper classmen and it’s not too early to join professional organizations.

Giving Back

Whether you decide to go to college far or near to your community or whether you decide to join the local workforce or not, big changes are coming soon and it’s important to give back to those who have brought you this far. It could be an organization, a spiritual group, a family member, or anything else that has assisted you. It shows gratitude and respect to give back in whatever way you are able so remember to do it as often as you can. See more discussion and ideas on giving back here.

Campus Resources

This is especially important if coming in as a transfer student; at many larger schools, there are often transfer student specific resources, so don’t be shy to ask about them.

Study Tips

  • Take good notes
  • Review
  • Stay organized
  • Find your own designated ‘quiet spot’ (ex. library, coffee shop, etc.)

Here are some helpful articles on studying:

Visit our time management page for more assistance with staying organized.

Academic Planning

To learn which classes you need to complete your choice of study, be sure to have regular meetings with your academic advisor. This will help mitigate common errors of taking too many electives, not enough, or missing a core class that is offered irregularly.

Your GPA is also an important consideration as your academic journey progresses. Using online tools, you can track your GPA by using one of the following calculators:

Transferring Credits

Will the classes you have taken at your tribal or community college be accepted by the four-year school you plan to attend? The more credits you have when you enter a four-year college, the sooner you will graduate and the more money you’ll save.

Try taking these steps:

  • Meet with the advisor at your current college and the advisor at your new college to go over your transcripts and determine which credits will transfer. Schools vary widely on their policies for accepting credits from other colleges. Make sure you understand which of your credits will transfer before you arrive at your new school.
  • When signing up for classes at your current school, sign up for the ones that you are sure will transfer to your new school. Typically, “collegiate level” courses transfer while classes in study skills or preparatory courses usually will not. Again, talk with your advisor.
  • Try to get a written statement from the four-year school you’ll be attending noting which credits will be accepted from your current school. This can help avoid unwanted surprises.

Professional Development

College is an integral time of your professional development journey. Extracurricular activities, summer jobs, internships, externships, and even work-study jobs can help propel you into your chosen field. Explore our Career Center for professional development tips about building a resume and cover letter to get started.