Skip to main content

The USDA 1994 Tribal Scholars Program

The USDA 1994 Tribal Scholars Program – Application Period Closes January 30, 2024.

Food Production and Conservation Opportunities
National Institute of Food and Agriculture

The USDA 1994 Tribal Scholars Program seeks to increase the number of American Indian and Alaska Native students studying agriculture, food, natural resource sciences, and related disciplines.

The USDA 1994 Tribal Scholars Program combines classroom study with paid work experience that leads to employment at USDA. Through this program, USDA seeks to boost the number of tribal college and university students studying and graduating in food, agriculture, natural resources, and other related fields of study, and help build the pipeline of future agricultural scientists and professionals. The program also strengthens USDA partnerships with 1994 land-grant institutions.

The program provides full tuition, employment, housing or a living stipend, employee benefits, fees, and books each year for up to 4 years to selected students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in agriculture, food science, natural resource science, or a related academic discipline beginning at one of 35 federally recognized tribal colleges and universities and continuing at other higher education institutions. The scholarship may be renewed each year, contingent upon satisfactory academic performance and normal progress toward the bachelor's degree.


You plan to attend and are enrolled, currently attend, or recently graduated from a Tribal College or University. For the purposes of this application, a recent graduate is someone who does not yet have a bachelor’s degree and who has graduated with an associate’s degree within the last two years.

You are a student ‘in good standing’ as defined by your college.

Permanent Federal Position Potential

Scholars accepted into the program will be eligible for noncompetitive conversion to a permanent appointment with USDA upon successful completion of their degree requirements by the end of the agreement period. (5 CFR 213.3202) (Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 - Section 12519)

If selected, scholars must commit to at least one year of service to USDA for each year of financial assistance provided. The details of this requirement will be outlined in the service agreement for the scholar, their university, and the USDA sponsoring agency.

How to prepare an application


An application package includes an essay, your resume, two letters of recommendation, and your transcripts.

Resume – Submit your current resume.

Essay – Submit an essay answering these questions below with a word count of 500 – 800 words. Note the position for which you are applying.

  1. What motivates you to consider a career in public service working for the U.S. Department of Agriculture? Include information about your educational and career goals and how this scholarship may assist you.
  2. Where in USDA would you like to work?
  3. How did you become interested in studying food, agriculture, and natural resource sciences or another related discipline in college?

Two Letters of Recommendation – You will need to request two people to submit letters of recommendation on your behalf.

One must be from your academic counselor, advisor, or faculty member. Each letter must address your:

  1. Personal strengths.
  2. Leadership qualities and potential.
  3. Academic and extracurricular achievements.
  4. Future academic and career aspirations.

Transcript – Submit transcripts indicating your most recent academic work.

Submit all documents via email to

Questions: email or call or text 202-845-5646 or 202-870-8035