Resource Details

Agriculture, Food & Beverage, Native Peoples

Tribal Scholars Program

The USDA 1994 Tribal Scholars Program seeks to increase the number of American Indian and Alaska Native students studying agriculture, food, natural resource sciences, and related disciplines.

The USDA 1994 Tribal Scholars Program combines classroom study with paid work experience that leads to employment at USDA. Through this program, USDA seeks to boost the number of students studying and graduating in food, agriculture, natural resources, and other related fields of study, and help build the pipeline of future agricultural scientists and professionals. The program also strengthens USDA partnerships with 1994 land-grant institutions.

The program provides full tuition, employment, employee benefits, fees, and books each year for up to 4 years to selected students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, food science, natural resource science, or a related academic discipline at one of 35 federally recognized tribal colleges and universities. The scholarship may be renewed each year, contingent upon satisfactory academic performance and normal progress toward the bachelor's degree.

Scholars accepted into the program will be eligible for noncompetitive conversion to a permanent appointment with USDA upon successful completion of their degree requirements by the end of the agreement period. (5 CFR 213.3202) (Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 - Section 12519)

If selected, scholars must commit to at least one year of service to USDA for each year of financial assistance provided. The details of this requirement will be outlined in the service agreement for the scholar, their university, and the USDA sponsoring agency.


Applicants must meet the following requirements:
1. Be a U.S. citizen
2. Must enroll, be currently enrolled in a 1994 Tribal College degree program or have recently finished a 1994 Tribal College associates degree program.
3. Must also plan to enroll in a four-year degree granting institution the sponsoring Agency may require if the degree program does not exist at the 1994 Tribal College or University.
4. Maintain a 3.0 GPA once under scholarship.
5. Have demonstrated leadership and community service.
6. Submit an official transcript with a school seal and/or the signature of an authorized school official.
7. Submit an essay that is 500-800 words describing 1) What motivates you to consider a career in public service working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Include information about your educational and career goals and how this scholarship may assist you to achieve them; 2) How did you become interested in studying food, agriculture, and natural resource sciences or another related discipline in college.

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