College for American Indians

College for American Indians: Financial Tips for Considering College

Attending college is one of the best ways for a Native American/Pacific Islander student to continue to increase his or her potential, earn a respected place in the tribe, and develop even more skills and knowledge to give back to their community. Whether on or away from the reservation, Native Americans/Pacific Islanders often face barriers to realizing the benefits of higher education, including age, poverty, family circumstances, long commutes, and responsibilities to the community. This workshop helps students make the decision to attend college, choose an institution, understand how to finance their education, and manage both during and after college.

Workshop Materials

You must agree to the terms of the Content License Agreement below to access the materials. Once the materials are downloaded, they may be used as-is or customized to best meet your needs.

Each kit provides workshop facilitators with the materials needed to run a workshop straight out of the box, or the choice to adapt any of the detailed presentations, scripts or learner action plans to suit their unique audience’s needs. Here is what you can find in each workshop.

A Presentation

Display these PowerPoint slides during your presentation to keep the workshop engaging and on track.

A Script

Consult the script for tips on how to prepare for your workshop, what your primary talking points will be, and follow-up resources.

Activities and Info Sheets

Guide your workshop participants through the hands-on activities and informational sheets to bring the financial skills to life.

Related Resources

Find additional suggested resources that can help round out your educational offerings.


The FAQ section for each workshop can help answer your questions about working with your intended audience.


If I am not Native American, will I still be able to deliver a helpful presentation to this audience?

Just because you are not Native American does not mean you cannot empathize with others. If you have a strong connection to your cultural heritage, share that information. You also can share any struggles your family members faced if they immigrated to the United States and how they overcame them. If it is true in your family, share how education has improved your lives and how it was worth the challenge.

Do I have to be particularly careful about my appearance before the presentation? That is, will my clothes and the overall way I look be a problem when it comes to being respectful to this audience?

Since low income is a general issue with Native American populations, it is a good idea to dress professionally yet modestly. This also is respectful of American Indian cultures, which emphasize not bringing attention to oneself. Simply remember that you are a financial expert or community leader, and the job you volunteered for is to help your audience learn what it takes to go to college and how the decision can benefit their lives.

Is there anything in particular I should emphasize in the workshop?

In Native American cultures, it is considered rude to brag or talk about oneself. That can lead prospective students to struggle with writing the personal essay required by many colleges as part of the application process. They may even give up and decide not to finish the application. Explain to your participants that the essay is not bragging or bringing attention to themselves. Instead, it simply is an opportunity to tell your personal story. Information about the essay is not included in the talking script nor PowerPoint, but you could include this activity if you find more time at the end of your presentation.

What if a participant asks a question that I cannot answer?

This workshop is designed to provide general information to attendees considering college. Therefore, it cannot be specific to each person. If you are asked a question to which you do not know the answer, you can refer them to the National Endowment for Financial Education website ( for financial education tools, and to the American Indian College Fund website ( for Native American educational questions. Do your best to stay on topic during the presentations, discussions, activities, and question-and-answer periods, while also helping the participants with their specific financial questions.

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Help low-literacy families gain the critical life skills needed to make smart financial choices.

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Working Women

Designed to give newly-employed women basic information on how to make sound financial decisions.

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