About Us

Our Mission

The American Indian College Fund invests in Native students and tribal college education to transform lives and communities.

Our Vision

The American Indian College Fund was founded in 1989. For over 31 years, the College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native student access to higher education. We provide scholarships, programming to improve Native American student access to higher education, and the support and tools for them to succeed once they are there.

Our Commitment to Supporters

The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators.

    • The College Fund meets the Charity Accountability Standards of the Better Business Bureau‘s Wise Giving Alliance.
    • The College Fund received a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.
    • The College Fund consistently receives high ratings from Charity Navigator.
    • The College Fund received a B+ rating from Charity Watch.

How Your Donations Are Used

72%Scholarships, Programs, and Public Education5%Management and General23%Fundraising

A Commitment to Donors


2021 Gold Seal of Transparency

Best Charity

Certified by America’s best charities

Charity Navigator

View our Charity Navigator profile


Wise Giving Alliance standards

Our History

Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund is the nation’s largest Native-run charity supporting Native student access to higher education. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provides American Indian and Alaska Native students with scholarships and program support, ensuring they have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers.

The College Fund also supports 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities (TCUs), which most of which are chartered by tribal governments and are located on or near Indian reservations.

The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.

Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs)

For over 50 years, tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) have provided a path for American Indian students to access a higher education and opportunity.

Diné College was the first, founded in 1969 during the Civil Rights era. Today the American Indian College Fund supports 35 tribal colleges and universities (TCUs).

These higher education institutions all have three basic criteria: they must be tribally chartered, their boards must be comprised of a majority of Native Americans, and the student body must be comprised of a majority (51%) of Native Americans.

TCUs serve Native students seeking a higher education as well as others living in the remote, rural communities where TCUs are located. These higher education institutions also provide important services to entire American Indian communities including health education, childcare, health centers, and computer centers, libraries, Indigenous research and language preservation classes, and serve as the hub for community activities and lifelong learning.

The first six tribal colleges founded the American Indian Higher Education Consortium (AIHEC) to maintain common standards of quality in American Indian education; support the development of new TCUs; promote and assist in developing legislation to support American Indian higher education; and encourage greater participation by Native peoples to develop higher education policy.

The American Indian College Fund was created in 1989 by AIHEC to raise scholarship funds and funding for TCUs. The College Fund raises millions of dollars for scholarships, campus infrastructure, and programming such as research, language preservation, early childhood education, mentoring, internships, and student success.

TCUs allow Native students to earn a higher education from an accredited institution in or near the reservation communities they call home. Their cultures, traditions, and Native experiences are woven into the curriculum and institutions, providing a supportive space for learning.

How to Help

Currently only 14.5% of American Indians hold college degrees. But with 42% of Native Americans being 24 years old or younger, you have the opportunity to make an incredible impact for this generation and generations to come when you donate today.