By Dean Chavers, Ph. D.



Catching the Dream, formerly known as the Native American Scholarship Fund, makes grants to Native college students and works to improve Indian schools. Since 1986, CTD has made scholarship awards to 1,266 students and has produced 921 graduates. Our retention rate is 85.2%, a very high rate compared to the 18% college completion rate that prevails nationwide with Native college students. Contrary to what students often think, CTD rewards students for finding and winning scholarships. Many students think the fewer scholarships they find and win, the more we will like it. The opposite is true. The more scholarships you find and win, the more we like it, and the more money we will give you. Our ultimate goal is to have you being able to go to college with no loans and have your expenses totally covered.

Many students think they cannot afford to go to Stanford or Harvard. The total cost for a year at the Ivy League colleges is now $75,000 to $92,000. But really solid, hardworking, dedicated, serious students can win enough money in scholarships to be able to attend Stanford or Harvard. The secret is scholarships.

We will help students with their scholarship search, with their scholarship planning, and with their essay. We will help you with your essay at any time. Our critique of it is free! Please call us with any questions whatsoever. Nothing is too unimportant to ask us about. The only silly or stupid question is the one you do not ask. Please use us freely as a resource.

We require students to apply to all other sources of funds before they apply to CTD. This includes financial aid, college work study, Perkins and Stafford loans, tribal scholarships, and other scholarships. We want students to be able to go to Stanford Medical School, not have to take out any loans, and still be able to give their momma money.

We have students doing this now. You can do it too, if you are willing to do just a little work. One of our students is at Northern Arizona University. He did a thorough scholarship search and won 18 scholarships that pay him $26,000 a year. His total college cost is $12,000, so he has $14,000 left over. That is totally legitimate, and something we encourage. Another student, a five-year dropout, found 102 scholarships with our help and won 70 of them. Still another one found 407 scholarships, applied to 70 of them, and won 65; he is attending Stanford without any loans.

If you saw a statement about CTD or NASF on any website or directory listing that says you must find and apply to a minimum of 15 scholarships to be eligible to apply to CTD, disregard it. The minimum is listed below. If you do not do a thorough scholarship search and make applications to the others before you apply to CTD, we will hold your application for up to three years. At the end of three years, if you have still not completed the process, we will destroy your records. At any time during the three years that you complete the process, notify us, give us documentation of the places you have applied, and we will then process your application.

The maximum number of scholarships a student in the U. S. has won, apparently, was 200. Marianne Ragins, a Black girl in Macon, Georgia, in 1991 found 200 scholarships, applied to all 200, and won all 200. The total amount of money she won was $315,000, which was much more than she needed to attend any U. S. college. Her average amount per scholarship was $1,575, which is about what you will find. It was such a feat that Parade magazine did a two-page spread on her.

It helped that she had a 4.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale, and that she worked at a fast food restaurant 25 hours a week. Her father was deceased, and her mother was supporting the two of them on the meager salary of a seamstress. And it helped that she wanted to go to medical school.

Students should Google Marianne to learn what is on her website, and to learn the names of the three books she has published since she finished college. If your library does not have these three books, request the librarian to order at least one of them. Marianne now spends all her time working with students on finding and winning scholarships.

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