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Applications Available for SMSC Endowed Scholarship at U of M

Students enrolled or eligible to enroll in a federally recognized tribe are eligible, as are those who qualify under the Indian Education Act

Prior Lake, Minn. – Applications are now available for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Endowed Scholarship at the University of Minnesota for the 2013-2014 academic year. The SMSC Endowed Scholarship was established in 2008 through a $2.5 million gift from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community into a matching endowment fund, creating a $5 million endowment to provide scholarships for American Indian students. To date, 112 students from across the United States have received SMSC scholarships.

“We encourage qualified graduating high school students from any state who are planning to attend any of the University of Minnesota campuses to look into this scholarship. While preference is given to enrolled members of federally recognized tribes, students who qualify under the Indian Education Act are also eligible if they meet the other requirements,” said SMSC Chairman Charlie Vig.

The SMSC scholarship program is designed to recruit and retain talented American Indian students with demonstrated financial need to the University of Minnesota. The SMSC scholarship program is administered by the University's Office for Equity and Diversity. The primary goal of the SMSC scholarship program is to support incoming University of Minnesota freshmen and transfer students with demonstrated financial need. Scholarships may also be awarded to qualified, newly admitted graduate and professional students in specific disciplines.

“In today’s society, an education is essential, especially for Indian people. We need our young people to work for their tribes, help their people, and protect our tribal sovereignty,” said Chairman Vig.

Scholarship criteria

To be considered for an SMSC scholarship, students must meet the following criteria:

• Admission to one of the University of Minnesota's five campuses (Twin Cities, Crookston, Duluth, Morris, or Rochester) as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student.

• Enrollment or eligibility for enrollment in a federally recognized tribe or students who qualify under the Indian Education Act.

• Graduate and professional students must have an academic focus in one or more of the following areas: medicine, dentistry, or other health-related disciplines; public health; engineering; business administration/accounting; math; science; technology; public policy or government administration; education; or law.

• Undergraduate scholarship recipients must maintain a minimum cumulative 2.5 grade point average for SMSC scholarships to be renewed after the first year.

• Graduate and professional scholarship recipients must maintain a minimum cumulative 3.0 grade point average for renewal.

For undergraduates, scholarships are renewable for up to four years or until graduation (whichever comes first), contingent upon academic performance. For graduate and professional students, the length of funding is contingent upon academic performance, the school of enrollment, and degree program and is determined on a case-by-case basis. Grades and financial need determine if the scholarship is renewed for the following school year for each student.

Application information

For more information about SMSC scholarships, please visit or

e-mail Rickey Hall, assistant vice president for equity and diversity at the U of M, at Applications must be postmarked on or before August 1, 2013.

Scholarship recipients will be selected by the SMSC Selection Committee, which is comprised of representatives from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and U of M staff.

About the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, a federally recognized Indian Tribe in Minnesota, is the owner and operator of Mystic Lake Casino Hotel, Little Six Casino, Mazopiya, The Meadows at Mystic Lake, and other enterprises on a reservation south of the Twin Cities. The SMSC utilizes its financial resources from gaming and non-gaming enterprises to pay for the internal infrastructure of the Tribe, including but not limited to roads, water and sewer systems, emergency services, and essential services to its members in education, health, and well-being.

A tribal charitable giving program which comes from a cultural and social tradition to assist those in need has given away more than $262.2 million to Indian Tribes, charitable organizations, and schools since 1992. Through the Mdewakanton LIFE Program, the SMSC has donated 776 Automated External Defibrillators to tribes, schools, police and fire departments, and other organizations with 21 lives saved due to their use.

The SMSC has also made more than $523 million in loans, mostly to other tribes for economic and infrastructure development projects.


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