You may feel overwhelmed when you consider the cost of higher education The Cobell Scholarship is one of many opportunities for you to earn funding for your academic pursuits.

If you would like to know about the Cobell scholarship and how you can apply for it, then read on to get your answers.


The Cobell Scholarship

The Cobell Scholarship is an annual, non-renewable scholarship sponsored by the Indigenous Education, Inc (IEI) which is administered to full-time, degree-seeking students who are enrolled members of a U.S. Federally Recognized Tribe.

Applicants of the Cobell scholarship are evaluated first by merit and then by financial need.

The Cobell Scholarship arose as a result of the Cobell v. Salazar case.

Elouise Cobell who was born on the Blackfeet Reservation in 1945 grew up impoverished, but with the biggest impact on the account of how her aunt and uncle requested money from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to cover medical care. The funding came late which resulted in Cobell’s uncle’s eventual death.

Cobell strived hard to study Accounting at Great Falls Commercial College, then proceed to Business at the University of Montana. She became the Treasurer of the Blackfoot Nation after interning at Blackfeet Reservation’s BIA office,, then assisted in founding the Blackfeet National Bank.

Elouise Cobell and the Native American Rights Fund filed a class-action lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Interior in 1966, alleging the BIA had been mismanaging Indian Trust Funds. In 2009, the Cobell v. Salazar case reached a $3.4 billion settlement. Out of that settlement, $60 million was allotted for a scholarship fund, resulting in the Cobell Scholarship.


The scholarship opportunity is open to graduate and undergraduate students that are pursuing a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or professional degree.


The award amount for the Cobell scholarship varies. Scholarship amounts can be up to $6,000 for undergraduate students and up to $12,500 for graduate students.


The Cobell Scholarship is available for undergraduate and graduate students.


Eligible applicants must possess the following criteria to be considered for the scholarship

Applicants must:

  • Be pursuing post-secondary education
  • Be an enrolled member of an S. Federally-Recognized Tribe
  • Be enrolled in full-time study
  • Plan to attend or currently be attending any nationally, regionally, and industry accredited nonprofit, public, or private institution
  • Be pursuing a vocational certificate or diploma, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, or professional degree or certificate


Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements for the Cobell Scholarship:

  • Have at least a 3.5 GPA for graduate and professional degrees
  • Have at least a 3.25 GPA for undergraduate and post-baccalaureate degrees
  • Have at least a 2.0 GPA for vocational degrees

Note: Applicants whose GPA is lower than recommended, are encouraged to apply but must include any extenuating circumstances and how they plan to improve their performance in school.


The Cobell Scholarship requires a fairly in-depth application process, which can seem complicated at first. However, keeping in mind the rich history of the scholarship and what you can potentially gain from it makes it worthwhile to apply if you are eligible.

The application requirements for the Cobell Scholarship for undergraduate students are:

  • A 500-word reflection on Elouise Cobell and/or the Cobell v. Salazar Settlement and how this has or will influence your “academic pursuits, leadership choices and engagement in the community”
  • Information about your higher-education path, including answers to the following questions:
  • “Cumulative GPA as listed on your most recent transcript
  • How many credits do your institution and degree area require for graduation?
  • How many total credits toward this degree area and graduation have you earned as of today’s date?
  • Approximately what date do you expect to receive your degree (MM/DD/YYYY)?
  • A list of all schools you have attended, beginning with high school(s), up to your current institution and including any for summer or special courses
  • A brief explanation of how you decided upon your current area of study
  • Please describe factors that have contributed to academic success in your current area of study
  • List any awards, honors, or scholarships you have received as they relate to academic success and achievement”
  • Responses to the following prompts about leadership:
  • “In your own words, provide a brief definition of leadership and describe the important values a leader demonstrates.
  • Describe a leadership experience in which you have made a difference on campus or in your community. Describe any positive or negative lessons learned about leadership.
  • Other than Elouise Cobell, who, past or present, has taught you the most, been a role model, or inspired you to become a leader? How and why have they done so?
  • List internships, assistantships, and jobs (including summer employment) in which you have learned leadership skills. What was the most valuable skill you learned? Sometimes negative experience models how not to lead and have a greater impact on our own skills-building. Feel free to share experiences either positive or negative.
  • Reflecting on previous responses in this section, do lessons learned along the path to leadership align with your own leadership values and definition of a good leader? Please explain why or why not.”
  • Responses to the following questions on community engagement:
  • “How do you define community for the purposes of your academic and career choices?
  • In what ways have you engaged with your own community? What has been the impact of this engagement on your community? How have these experiences influenced your educational choices and career aspirations? For this response, up to 500 words is allowable.
  • Discuss how any extracurricular activities or volunteer experiences in which you have engaged will serve to advance your future public service, career, and educational goals.
  • List and describe up to four (4) other recent public service, community activities, programs, or other activities in which you have engaged on campus or in your community (such as student organizations, publications, speech and debate, performing arts, student government, local advocacy, etc…). These need not have been leadership experiences. Will any of these activities or public service engagements continue after graduation and during your career and if so, discuss why it will continue.”
  • What quote, by any individual, inspires you toward public service or advocacy at this point in your life? Why?
  • They use a quote from Elouise Cobell as an example: “I want these young people to understand the way the world works, and to question everything that comes before them.”
  • A short, clean joke or humorous story so the person reviewing your application can get to know you
  • Undergraduate reference
  • Ask one person, who is not a relative, to testify about your character and promise as a Cobell Scholar
  • Additional comments ( you can include the answer to questions about your education that weren’t asked here.

Note: Each response to the questions should be under 250 words unless stated otherwise.


According to IEI, applying for a Cobell Scholarship has a process which applicant must follow:

Applicant should:

  • Create a profile on OASIS by filling out your details
  • Submitting the General Application Profile.
  • Fill out the eligibility section on OASIS to determine which scholarships you are eligible for.
  • Answer the supplemental questions required for that scholarship.
  • Submit your application for a Cobell Scholarship in OASIS if you are eligible and matched with a scholarship.
  • Await a scholarship offer to arrive via email in mid-MAy if you are selected.
  • Submit required documentation to confirm eligibility.
  • Await official notification you were deemed a Cobell Scholar, given all documentation and verification, goes through successfully.

Note: This verification process will be explained in the acceptance email you receive in mid-May.


Applicants are to visit  Cobell scholarship for the application process.


The deadline for submission of the application for the 2022 Cobell scholarship application is March 2022.



You may be wondering how to improve your chances of winning the Cobell Scholarship after reading about it.

How to Increase Your Chances of Winning the Cobell Scholarship;


When answering each question on the Cobell Scholarship application, remember to be authentic and true to yourself. They’re interested in who you are and what you can bring as a person.


For the Cobell Scholarship, most of the short response prompts ask you to describe an experience, which provides you the chance to tell a story. The individual reading your application will get a better sense of who you are and what you’re like if you tell them a story instead of just giving a straight response. Speaking about your love for something is much more powerful and concrete than just claiming you have that trait in yourself.


By writing what you believe the person reading your application wants to hear, you’re not letting them see the true you. You don’t have to play mind games when writing this scholarship application’s replies.

Don’t write as if you were the “perfect applicant.” I can’t think of someone who’s perfect. The reviewers of Cobell Scholarship applications are looking for students that embody Elouise Cobell’s legacy in a variety of ways.


This may seem like a basic point, but it’s easy to get carried away and write more than the word limit allows. However, it’s critical that you answer the prompt and stay under the word limit for all short-answer questions (250 words maximum, unless otherwise noted).


Cobell scholarship is named after a single individual, and many of the questions on the application invite you to reflect on that person. It’s critical that you grasp the significance of Elouise Cobell’s life and legacy. You should conduct some study before you begin answering any of the questions on the application.


How many applicants were awarded the scholarship?

About 30% of applicants received a Cobell Scholarship in the 2020-2021 application cycle and this is because the scholarship is fairly competitive.

What are the selection criteria?

Applicants are scored based on general strength, the content of written responses, and writing skills. Diversity of tribes, academic backgrounds, and academic pursuits is also taken into account.

When should I apply for the Cobell scholarship?

The Cobell Scholarship application opens on December 15, 2021, for the 2022-2023 academic year and the application is usually open for three months. So, the deadline for submission of the application is March 2022.

How are Cobell Scholarship applications reviewed?

Cobell Scholarship applications are reviewed by a group of indigenous “higher education professionals” located around the country in a variety of positions and disciplines.

When do I need to submit documentation?

When you first submit your application, all information is self-reported. You won’t need to submit any documentation confirming your eligibility until you are selected as a finalist.

If I’m a finalist, does that mean I’m guaranteed funding?

Being among the selected finalists doesn’t guarantee to fund. It only means you have scored high enough on your application.


The Cobell Scholarship is an amazing opportunity for eligible applicants to get the chance to carry the legacy of a woman who demonstrated courage, persistence, leadership, and a deep commitment to her community.

The application process may seem confusing at first glance, you can take your time to complete it within the period in which the application window is open.

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