Native American Opportunity Plan

UC’s Native American Opportunity Plan ensures that in-state systemwide Tuition and Student Services Fees are fully covered for California students who are also enrolled in federally recognized Native American, American Indian, and Alaska Native tribes. This plan applies to undergraduate and graduate students.

What's covered

If you are eligible for the Native American Opportunity Plan, your in-state systemwide Tuition and Student Services Fees will be fully covered by either UC financial aid or another federal, state or other financial aid program. 

Students with greater financial need can qualify for even more grant support to help pay other educational expenses (like books, housing, transportation, etc.).

You don't need to fill out a separate application to qualify for the Native American Opportunity Plan. If you qualify, UC will contact you directly with further instructions. If you think you may qualify and have not been contacted by UC, reach out to your Native American student resource or community center or campus financial aid office.

If you are a member of a tribe that is not federally recognized, additional support may available through external organizations. We encourage you to work with your campus’s Native American resource center or community center to identify these opportunities.

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for the Native American Opportunity Plan, students must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Must be a current or newly admitted University of California undergraduate, graduate or professional school student.
  2. Must be a California Resident.
  3. Must be an enrolled member in a federally recognized Native American, American Indian and/or Alaska Native tribe.
  4. Must be enrolled in a qualifying UC degree program.

UC will reach out directly to new and continuing students who might be eligible with instructions. Documentation of tribal enrollment may include any of the following:

  • Certification of tribal enrollment on tribal letterhead.
  • Enrollment/membership card that contains the tribal seal and/or official signature of a tribal leader.
  • Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) if the CDIB includes tribal enrollment information.
  • Tribal identification card with an enrollment number. You must also submit tribal contact information (address, phone, and email) if it is not evident on submitted documentation.

Frequently Asked Questions

The goal of the UC Native American Opportunity Plan is to make college more affordable and accessible for California’s Native American students. This initial phase of the plan will ensure that in-state systemwide Tuition and Student Services Fees are fully covered for California residents who are members of federally recognized Native American, American Indian and Alaska Native tribes. The plan applies to new and continuing undergraduate, graduate and professional school students in state-funded degree programs who don’t already qualify for financial aid that covers their tuition.
No, these funds are not loans and students do not need to pay them back. They fall under the category of tuition remission, grants, and scholarships from federal, state, university or private sources.
The program promises that systemwide Tuition and Student Services Fees, which are assessed to all California residents, will be covered by grants or scholarships. Campus fees and Professional Degree Supplemental Tuition are not part of the Native American Opportunity Plan.
UC is bound by state law, specifically Proposition 209, which prohibits the University of California from providing financial aid to students based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin. UC can provide financial aid to students based on their membership in federally recognized tribes because such membership is legally deemed a political classification, rather than a racial classification, due to the sovereign-to-sovereign relationship that the law recognizes between the federal government and federally recognized tribes.

UC consulted with tribal leaders to develop the UC Native American Opportunity Plan. This consultation included discussions on how to benefit all Native American students, including those from non-federally recognized tribes. California’s Native American tribes and other external organizations may provide scholarships to Native American students who are not members of a federally recognized tribe. The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria recently announced a scholarship fund which will cover UC tuition and mandatory fees for all eligible California Native American students. More information about these external scholarships will be provided by UC at a future date.

UC will reach out to new and continuing students who may qualify for this program with instructions. Students will be asked to submit tribal enrollment documentation from their federally recognized tribe or the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). Documentation may include any of the following:

  • Certification of tribal enrollment on tribal letterhead
  • Enrollment/membership card that contains the tribal seal and/or official signature of a tribal leader
  • Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood (CDIB) if the CDIB includes tribal enrollment information
  • Tribal identification card with an enrollment number

In addition, students must submit tribal count contact information (address, phone and email) if it is not evident on submitted documentation.

No. The UC Native American Opportunity Plan is available to California residents who are enrolled members of any federally recognized Native American, American Indian and Alaska Native tribes.
Native Americans are among the most underrepresented groups within higher education, including at the University of California. The UC Native American Opportunity Plan is part of the university’s larger commitment to expanding diversity and its efforts to make a UC education more affordable and accessible to students of all backgrounds. This plan builds on the UC Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, the Tuition Stability Plan, and the university’s commitment to creating a path to a debt-free education for its students.
The plan is estimated to cost $2.4 million in the 2022-23 academic year. It will be funded from a combination of existing and new university financial aid funds.

UC will continue to provide robust financial aid for all its eligible students under the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, which ensures that undergraduate students have their systemwide tuition and fees covered if they are California residents whose total family income is less than $80,000 a year and demonstrate financial need. Additional financial aid may be available to students depending on their specific circumstances. The university is also committed to establishing a path to a debt-free UC education for its students.

Proposition 209 still prohibits UC from providing financial aid to students based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin.

No. The program falls within the authority of the president of the University of California and does not require Regental approval.
Students may contact the financial aid office, graduate division or Native resource center on their campus.