College Housing Program Helps Cherokees Fulfill Educational Dreams

Guest Commentary

Published October 22, 2018

More Cherokees are in college than ever before, and much of the credit for that goes to Cherokee Nation scholarships. This fall we assisted more than 5,000 tribal citizens with fulfilling their dream of earning of an undergraduate degree. Cherokee Nation staff work diligently every year to expand our support system for young people on college campuses. Aside from money to attend school, housing is often the next hurdle our Cherokee students must cross to achieve their degree.

In 2011, we set out to knock down the student housing barrier. We restarted the College Housing Assistance Program, and over the past seven years we have helped almost 800 qualified Cherokees with university housing. This fall semester, 123 students are taking part in the program. These Cherokees are on an educational journey and need secure, safe and affordable housing while they are seeking their undergraduate degree. Many of these awardees are the first in their family to attend college. Stepping out of comfort zones and pursuing a college education is daunting. However, we can make a real impact by making that transition easier.

Chief Bill John Baker

We know education is the gateway to great personal success. Lifting even one Cherokee student can have far-reaching effects. When we help these young people, we are opening the door to a future where they will have better opportunities for quality jobs. Those with higher education levels have healthier families, contribute to stronger communities and give back in productive ways to the Cherokee Nation.

The College Housing Assistance Program is a Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act-funded program, and applicants must meet income guidelines. Qualified students can receive $1,000 for housing aid in both the fall and spring semesters, and those funds can be used for either on- or off-campus housing. Students must reside with the jurisdictional boundaries of the Cherokee Nation but can go to school anywhere.

Contact the Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation at or 918-456-5482 for more information about applying.

Bill John Baker is the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation.

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