Cobell Scholarship: Overview, Features, Eligibility Criteria, Application and Key Deadlines

Cobell Scholarship supports American Indian and Alaska Native students in their education.

The Cobell settlement funds this scholarship. It helps Native students reach their academic goals and strengthen their communities.

An image illustration of Cobell Scholarship
[Photo: Japaship]

Cobell Scholarship

The Cobell Scholarship helps Native American and Alaska Native students overcome educational challenges.

This scholarship began after the 2009 Cobell settlement, where funds addressed the mismanagement of Indian trust funds.

The settlement created the Cobell Scholarship Fund, managed by Indigenous Education, Inc. (IEI). The aim was clear: support education to strengthen tribal communities.

Features of Cobell Scholarship

The Cobell Scholarship offers various features to support students. Let’s break down its key aspects.

Financial Support

The scholarship is merit-based, and awarded for academic excellence, leadership, and community involvement, not financial need.

It covers tuition, fees, books, and living costs, easing financial burdens for students. This allows them to focus on their studies.

The support is provided annually for one academic year, with the possibility of renewal upon reapplication.

Additional Features

The scholarship encourages recipients to stay engaged with their tribal communities, contributing to future generations and fostering cultural values and leadership skills.

It includes a Mentorship Program, providing access to guidance and support from other Cobell Scholars and professionals for academic and personal success.

Recipients are connected with a network of like-minded individuals and potential career opportunities, facilitating professional development and advancement.

Eligibility Criteria

To seize this opportunity, understanding the eligibility criteria is essential.

Who Can Apply for the Cobell Scholarship?

  • Tribal Affiliation: This scholarship is for enrolled members of recognized tribes in the U.S., aiming to support tribal leadership and community growth.
  • Educational Goals: Whether you’re pursuing an associate’s, bachelor’s, or graduate degree, the Cobell Scholarship is open to you.
  • Field of Study: Beyond traditional degrees, the scholarship covers vocational or technical training, widening the scope for students.
  • Full-Time Study: Eligibility requires enrollment in full-time studies at an accredited institution. Active engagement and commitment matter for selection.

More on Eligibility Criteria

Open to enrolled members of any federally recognized tribe in the United States, the scholarship promotes access to higher education for diverse indigenous communities.

It supports any post-secondary degree program, including vocational or trade schools, catering to various academic interests and career goals.

Full-time enrollment in an accredited institution is required, ensuring a dedicated commitment to educational goals.

Additional Points to Note

  • Academic Performance: While the exact GPA isn’t fixed, maintaining a good academic record is beneficial.
  • Community Participation: Being involved in tribal activities, volunteering, or leadership roles boosts your application, highlighting leadership potential.
  • Essays and Recommendations: Strong essays about your goals and community involvement, along with good recommendation letters, enhance your chances.

How to Apply for the Cobell Scholarship

Scholarships For College Spotlight: The Cobell Scholarship | Bright Horizons College Coach Blog

Applications are submitted through the OASIS Portal, providing a convenient and accessible process. The scholarship offers a Matching Program through an Eligibility Form, increasing applicants’ chances of receiving support.

Certain scholarships may have additional requirements beyond the general submission for specialized awards. Finalists undergo additional verification steps to confirm eligibility and ensure responsible funding distribution.

Where to Get Help?

  • Cobell Scholarship Website: Visit the official site for details on eligibility, deadlines, and application guidance.
  • Indigenous Education, Inc. (IEI): IEI manages the scholarship and offers support. Contact them with questions.
  • Tribal Education Departments: Many tribes have education departments ready to assist with scholarship applications and other educational opportunities.


What you must do when applying:

Here’s a straightforward guide to help you apply for the Cobell Scholarship:

1. Set Up an OASIS Account:

  • Go to the Cobell Scholarship website:
  • Click “Apply Now” and register on the Online Application & Scholarship Information System (OASIS).

2. Complete Your Profile:

  • In OASIS, fill in your details, educational history, and tribal affiliation.

3. Check Your Eligibility:

  • Respond to the questions on the Eligibility Form in OASIS. This helps match you with suitable scholarships.

4. Answer Specific Questions:

  • You’ll see additional questions related to those programs if eligible for certain scholarships.

5. Upload Necessary Documents:

  • Add these to your OASIS application:
    • Official transcripts from your schools
    • Recommendation letters
    • Essays about your goals, story, and tribal involvement
    • Proof of tribal affiliation like a Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood or membership card

6. Review and Send:

  • Double-check your application for accuracy.
  • Submit it before the set deadline.

7. Check Application Status:

  • Log into OASIS to see how your application is progressing.

8. Wait for results:

  • Expect scholarship notifications by email around mid-May or later.

9. Verify your eligibility (if chosen):

  • If picked for a scholarship, provide any extra needed documents quickly.

Scholarship Deadlines

  • Undergraduate: Around March
  • Graduate and Vocational/Technical: Around February
  • Accept Scholarship: Early June

Key Points To Note:

  • Begin early to collect documents and write your essays.
  • Double-check everything before sending.
  • Ask mentors, teachers, or the Cobell Scholarship team for help if stuck.
  • Showcase your academic accomplishments, community roles, and tribal commitment in your application.
  • Craft engaging essays that tell your story, goals, and ties to your heritage.
  • Stay calm and trust that your effort will pay off.