Native Scholars 101


Congratulations on making the wise decision to attend college. This is the first step in making better decisions for yourself, your family, and your future.

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!


The transition from high school to college is not an easy one. Whether you are staying close to home at a Tribal College or heading across the country to attend a mainstream university, there will be many hard moments throughout the transition period.

Tips from Northwest Indian College Students

Time Management

The beauty of college can also be its curse- you’re largely in control of your own time now! You decide when to complete assignments, how much to procrastinate, and how to arrange your social life around academics and work. This is harder than it sounds! Explore our tips and advice on our time management page.

Financial Literacy

Perhaps you’ve been in control of your own finances for a while or perhaps this is the first time, but nonetheless- budgeting and money management have never been more important. Explore our Common Cents page to learn the heads and tales of financial literacy.


In the world of deadlines and papers and classes, it can be hard to make time for yourself. However, holistic care during this time is extremely important. Keep tabs on your well-being mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Here are just a few tips for keeping yourself healthy:

  • Proper diet
  • Don’t skip breakfast
  • Drink plenty of water & fluids
  • Get a good night’s rest
  • Create a routine
  • Relax with hobbies
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help

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.

Establish Good Study Habits

Find your place (corner nook in the library, a coffee shop, your back porch).

Here are some additional resources for achieving success:

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:

Professional Development

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.