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New York State Indian Aid Program Information

Background (Article 83, Education Law)

In 1953, the New York State Legislature authorized Education Law Section 4118 which provides funding for American Indian students from tribes located within the State.  Eligible American Indian students can receive grant awards of up to $2,000 per year for attending any approved, accredited postsecondary institution in New York State.  Students also may receive student aid for less than four years of study and for part-time study.

Eligibility (Commissioner's Regulations Subpart 145-4)

In order to be eligible to receive New York State Indian Aid, a student must meet the following criteria: 

  • The student must be a resident of New York State and be on an official tribal roll of a New York State tribe or be the child of an enrolled member of a New York State tribe.  New York State tribes include members of the Iroquoian tribes (St. Regis Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca Nation, Tonawanda Band of Seneca, and Tuscarora), the Shinnecock tribe, and the Poospatuck tribe.  An official tribal roll is a list of individuals designated by the tribal authorities as members of their tribe.
  • The student must have graduated from an accredited high school, attained a high school equivalency diploma, or be enrolled in a special program at an approved, accredited postsecondary institution which will lead to degree status and to a high school equivalency diploma.
  • The student must be enrolled in an approved program offered by a college, university, technical school, school of nursing, business, or trade school located in New York State.  Approved programs include collegiate and noncollegiate programs which are registered by the New York State Education Department.

There are no age restrictions on eligibility for New York State Indian Aid.

New York State Indian Aid will not be paid toward enrollment in the following types of courses:  remedial, noncredit-bearing, or college preparation courses.  Aid also will not be paid when students are repeating or auditing courses.

Application (Commissioner's Regulations Subpart 145-4)

Eligible students must apply to the State Education Department to receive New York State Indian Aid.  Students should submit application materials before July 15 for the fall semester, December 31 for the spring semester, and May 20 for the summer semester to:

NYS Education Department
Indigenous Education Unit
Room 1075 EBA
89 Washington Ave.
Albany, NY 12234

The following application materials are required:

  • A completed application form
  • An official transcript of the high school scholastic record of the student or a copy of the student's High School Equivalency Diploma or an official statement from the college attesting to enrollment in a special 24-credit hour high school equivalency program or a college transcript if the student has completed on or more semesters at the college level.
  • An official tribal certification form issued by the tribe
  • A copy of the letter of acceptance from the college

Students who are minors must have the signature of a parent or guardian approving their stated educational plan.

Student Responsibilities(Commissioner's Regulations Subpart 145-4)

Funding is contingent upon satisfactory progress (2.00 semester GPA) toward a degree or certificate requirements.  Students who receive New York State Indian Aid are required to submit their grades to the Indigenous Education Unit at the end of each semester for which funding is received.

For each semester that students wish to receive aid, they must notify the Unit of their interest in aid, the college at which they will be enrolled, and the number of credit hours taken.  This can be done by completing a Request for New York State Indian Aid on or before the application deadlines noted above.

Students also are responsible for notifying the Indigenous Education Unit, in writing and in a timely manner, of any change in student status, program, or institution enrollment.

Other Funding Sources

American Indian students also should contact Tribal/Nation Scholarship Offices, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and financial aid offices at the colleges to which they are applying for information on additional sources of student financial aid.

Funding Procedure

Eligible and/or certified American Indian students are eligible to receive grant awards of up to $2,000 per year for up to four years of full-time study (five years for specific programs requiring five years to complete degree requirements).  Students enrolled in institutions on the trimester or quarter system must be enrolled for at least 24 credit hours per year.  Students registered for less than 12 credit hours per semester or 24 credit hours per year will be considered part-time and will be funded on a prorated basis.

If funding is available, eligible students may receive aid for summer coursework.  Any aid a student receives for summer school study is deducted from the student's maximum entitlement for four years of full-time college study.

Payment Procedure

The State Education Department sends participating colleges payment vouchers for each fall, spring, or summer session in which the student is enrolled.  When the college returns the completed voucher to the Indigenous Education Unit, it is approved for payment and sent to the Department of Audit and Control for processing of payment.  Payments are sent directly to the college.   Generally, the processing of payments takes between four and six weeks from the receipt of the voucher to the mailing of the payment.

The Indigenous Education Unit makes special payment arrangements with certain colleges which have nontraditional schedules (for example, Empire State College).  The Unit will provide information on such arrangements.