Education , Government

The Osage Nation Higher Education Scholarship, by the numbers

Courtesy Photo/Story Blocks

As the Sixth Osage Nation Congress votes to fund $8.1 million in scholarship money to Osage students across the country, here is a look at who it serves by the numbers.

The Nation’s Higher Education Scholarship has put a countless number of Osages through school since its inception. For the 2017-2018 academic year, there were a total of 1,173 students who were approved to receive scholarship funding, according to the ON Education Department.

Per Scholarship America, the total amount paid in scholarships for the past three academic years are: 

-       2015-2016 academic year (funded at full or part-time)
Higher Education Scholarships: $9,423,987
Graduate Degree Awards: $42,000

-       2016-2017 academic year (began per credit hour funding)
Higher Education Scholarships: $8,040,394
Graduate Degree Awards: $69,000

-       2017-2018 academic year
Higher Education Scholarships: $8,149,220
Graduate Degree Awards: $57,000 

Student Scholarship Statistics for the 2017-2018 academic year

A breakdown of where the $8.2 million scholarship funds were spent, according to the Education Department: 

-       45 states, including Canada and Spain, where Osages attended school

-       478 colleges

-       249 Associate Degrees

-       780 Bachelor’s Degrees

-       148 Master’s Degrees

-       60 Doctorate Degrees

** Note: There were 64 students who submitted payment requests for more than one degree type during the academic year. This could be due to graduation or withdrawal from a degree program.

The higher education scholarship is administered by Scholarship America for $220,000 each year. However, Scholarship America’s contract says after 1,200 students are served, the Nation will pay an additional $190 per student, said Jason Zaun, ON Chief of Staff. He said this year there were 230 students over the 1,200 student limit, making the cost of Scholarship America approximately $263,700.

The Osage Nation budgets are discussed each year during the Tzi-Zho Session, which began on Sept. 4. For the past three to four years there has been the threat of layoffs to make sure there is enough money to fund the “Big 3,” which is the Higher Education Scholarship, the Health Benefits Fund and the Burial Assistance Fund. The “Big 3” make up $19 million of the Nation’s yearly $45 million appropriation from the Osage Casinos. The Nation’s budgets include the Office of the Chiefs, the Executive Branch, the Legislative Branch, Judicial Branch, boards and commissions and the Nation’s business enterprises.

Currently, jobs do not exist for Osage graduates to come back and work for the Nation. Neighboring gaming tribes, such as the Cherokee Nation, require their scholarship recipients to provide community service for every $100 a student receives. The Cherokee Nation also has a residency requirement for several of their scholarship programs that restrict recipients to 14 counties around their boundaries in northeastern Oklahoma, according to the Cherokee Nation’s College Resource Center.

The colleges and universities Osage students are attending cover a wide array of disciplines. They include schools for nursing, law, medicine, veterinary medicine, public health, divinity, dentistry, pharmacy, art, technology, osteopathic medicine, osteopathic medical surgery, agriculture, mechanical, mining and technology, theological seminary, aeronautical, social work and many others.