Native American scholarships give youth in Native American communities the incentive the need to excel in school. Because these scholarships are available, Native American youth are able to attend quality schools and follow their dreams, whatever they may be. They can pursue a career as a social worker, a police officer, or a community leader. With the help of scholarships, youth can be exposed to inspiring mentors and in turn can become mentors to young people in their own communities. Mentorship has a positive role in any community and can guide and shape young minds.
One of the major Native American scholarship providers is the Cathching the Dream organization. They offer three scholarship options to young Native Americans. The MESBEC scholarship is the oldest among the three. It focuses on the fields in which Native American communities need graduates the most – science (including all of the medical fields), education, business, engineering, math, and computers. The Native American Leadership Education (NALE) program is designed with the intent of getting more Native American graduates in the education, counseling, and school administration fields. With only a small percentage of teacher in reservation schools being Native Americans, students who graduate from these programs are in high demand. Finally, business, economics, finance, management, hotel management, and banking students would be well suited for the Tribal Business Management (TBM) program. This encourages students who are interested in working within the economic development fields within their communities. Applicants for any of these scholarships must be at least ¼ degree American Indian or more and be an enrolled member of a U.S. tribe as defined on a federal level. The must be enrolled in a full-time college or university course in the United States and can be pursuing any degree – Bachelor's, Master's, or PhD. Along with having excellent grades and high ACT or SAT scores, they must also be actively committed to their community and demonstrate good leaderships skills. Some work experience is preferred. They are required to apply for and exhaust all other options for funding and they must also include an essay in their application that gives details about themselves and their goals for their future. Recipients of the awards can receive from $500 to $5,000 per academic year.