ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has awarded Native Forward Scholars Fund a grant of $100,000 to strengthen and support Native students in pursuit of higher education degrees. Since 2010, in partnership with the tribe, Native Forward has been able to fund over 180 students’ educational journeys by assisting with the financial costs of college. Native visibility in higher education is just one part of their strategic direction for increasing matriculation and graduation rates for Native students.
Currently, Native Forward is only able to fund 18 percent of students who apply, but with this grant, the organization can continue to reinforce and deliver high-quality scholarship programs to undergraduate, graduate, and professional scholars. According to the National Study on College Affordability for Indigenous Students, released by Native Forward, over 30 percent of participants found it difficult to find funding for their freshman year of college.
“I was a beneficiary of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians’ scholarship and being the recipient made all the difference for me,” said Martin Deeb, a student from the Cherokee Nation. “I hope to one day provide the same opportunity I was afforded to someone else.”
“It is through the continued support of grants from San Manuel Band of Mission Indians that we can continue to provide opportunities for higher education to Native students,” said Angelique Albert, Native Forward Scholars Fund CEO. “This annual support from the tribe will strengthen students’ ability to succeed and thrive in their educational journeys.”
San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Vice Chairman Johnny Hernandez says that providing access to education for Native people is an essential step for building successful tribal nations for generations to come.
“Education is a conduit that allows communities to leverage knowledge for building strong economies, governmental infrastructures and fulfilling dreams people may have for future generations,” said Hernandez. “It is an honor to continue to provide the resources for Native people to pursue their dreams and create a brighter future for all.”
Native Forward Scholars Fund is the largest direct scholarship provider to Native students in the U.S. They award approximately $15 million in scholarships annually and have awarded over $350 million since their inception. Throughout their 50-year history, Native Forward Scholars Fund has empowered over 20,000 students from over 500 tribes in all 50 states by providing scholarship dollars and support services for undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees.