Established in the 2023 Minnesota State Legislative Session, this program provides a first-dollar tuition and fee-free pathway for college-bound American Indian students.

Who is Eligible?

Eligibility extends to Minnesota residents who are enrolled members or citizens of a federally recognized American Indian Tribe or Canadian First Nation and anyone who is an enrolled member or citizen of a Minnesota tribal nation. There is no age limit, but candidates cannot already have a bachelor’s degree.

What Does the Program Cover?

The American Indian Scholars Program covers tuition and fees. However, as a “first-dollar” program, students could still receive additional grants or scholarships to cover other college costs like rent, childcare, transportation, food and books.

How Do I Apply?

If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can complete the American Indian Scholarship Program Application.

Apply Now!

To be considered, you must be:

  • Pursuing your first bachelor’s degree and enrolled in an undergraduate degree program.
  • Have fewer than 180 attempted credits at the college level.
  • Be a Minnesota resident who qualifies for resident tuition and an enrolled member or citizen of a federally recognized American Indian Tribe or Canadian First Nation.
  • If you do not qualify for resident tuition, you are still eligible for this program if you are an enrolled member or citizen of a Minnesota Tribal Nation.
  • Provide a copy of your tribal enrollment or tribal I.D.

Why Bemidji State University?

American Indian Resource Center with sculpture of bison in front
American Indian Resource Center on the Bemidji State University campus

For decades, Bemidji State University and NTC, Bemidji’s Technical College, have understood that all of us are stronger when we weave American Indian ways of believing and knowing into the fabric of our lives. Faculty and campus leaders have reinforced this time and time again.

  • The nation’s first Ojibwe language program.
  • One of the first American Indian studies programs in the country.
  • The world’s only academic journal on the Ojibwe language.
  • The creation of the American Indian Resource Center.
  • The first American Indian vice president at a Minnesota State university.
  • The oldest continuously operating pow-wow in Bemidji.

These are just a few of the many ways we strive to be not only a strong partner for our American Indian neighbors but also a committed advocate for your success.

New Nisidotaading American Indian Courses

Beginning in the fall of 2024, we are excited to launch Nisidotaading (ni-si-do-TA-ding) curricula that will introduce every BSU student to a course on the region’s American Indian people before they graduate.

Chrissy Downwind
Chrissy Downwind, Vice President of American Indian Student Success & Campus Diversity Officer

Nisidotaading’s emphasis on mutuality will provide our students with a powerful opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the realities faced by American Indian communities in a way that is relevant to our region and, as a result, helps tear down misconceptions and stereotypes while also teaching students to think critically and look beyond themselves.


Contact us with any questions!

Ron Wilson
Associate Director for Outreach
(218) 755-4210

Jack Warren
Student Success Coordinator
(218) 755-2615