Native people face financial hardship
Each scholarship awarded to a Medicine Shield student through the American Indian Association of Illinois can mean the difference between receiving a college degree or dropping out. All of our scholarship recipients indicate that securing financial aid is the deciding factor to attaining their educational goals.
Native people face significant financial hardship. U.S. Census Bureau statistics show that 51% of American Indians subsist below the poverty level. Medium household income of Indian families is less than half the U.S. level.
Every dollar makes a difference to our students.
In past two years, AIAI distributed scholarships and program support to over 60 students, which directly translated into more than 20 of them graduating. Students are selected each year on the basis of academic success, financial need, community involvement, and how they are using higher education to better their lives and their Native communities.
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“The Medicine Shield program, is housed in a humble environment. The student themselves are the diamonds in the rough. The professors themselves are the greatest minds. Dr. Wiese herself is the heart and soul. Yet, collectively I have found magic within these walls. At times, a crossroads where I have contemplated my future. At times, a place of laughter and joy. Yet, still most times, a place of higher thought. In the end, this place has become my home. When I remember all of this, I can only be thankful to have come, pulled up a chair and stayed.”
Sarah Jimenez-Ojibwe-Class of 2011 Valedictorian