Back when I went to college I had a similar experience to what you describe. I was trying to figure out the scholarship thing and went to the scholarship office. I was told simply to look in the various lists of scholarships they had in large books of scholarships. There were scholarships available only to children of employees of certain credit union or factories, scholarships available to confederate war veteran descendants, all sorts, tens of thousands. I was curious about indian scholarships and asked my appointed counselor about this, he was quite unfriendly said he didn't know of any. I knew that could not be true, for he was a Luiseño indian and would surely have been familiar with something. But that was not my tribe you see and the fact is that we are not really united, there is not really pan-tribal indian unity. For most tribes the rule is look out for your own and who can blame us. I spend around a hundred hours complying with requirements for various scholarships and applied to a couple dozen. Most required essays, long forms, certified copies of transcripts, (which each cost me money to get, it seems that a photocopy is seldom sufficient) and letters of recommendation from friends tailored to the specific scholarship. As many people that were willing to write recommendations, it was too much to ask so many to write individual letters. In the end I received a few $50 and $100 scholarships. There was one $500 one but it required that I travel across the state and give a speech to a club. Without doing so, I could not collect it. If I had spent the 100 hours continuing to work the near-minimum wage job I had at the time, I would have made about the same amount, but without the stress of running about and paying fees. I worked my way through school and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in electrical engineering. Many of the indian scholarships I did find I wasn't eligible for because they wanted only people who majored in other fields. To this day I ponder whether there are any scholarships for indians interested in math, physics or engineering. To my own children I will give the advice don't even try to get a scholarship. Fortunately with the free online education that has suddenly come out of nowhere lately, it seems that paying huge unaffordable sums for education will soon be a thing of the past.