CNO supports academic success as a new semester kicks off
By Christian Chaney
February 1, 2024
As a new semester begins, Choctaw Nation’s Education Programs are in full swing, providing comprehensive assistance to students of all ages.
From facilitating academic excellence reimbursement to extending grants for school supplies and offering higher education guidance, the Education Department is dedicated to supporting the educational journey of Choctaw Nation tribal members.
In line with the mission statement, “To the Choctaw Proud, ours is the sovereign nation offering opportunities for growth and prosperity,” the education programs empower and serve students across the United States and epitomize the Choctaw Nation’s commitment to educational success.
Ashley Adams, Success Through Academic Recognition (STAR) Program Manager, explains what the STAR program means to her team and the importance of education to the Choctaw people.
“The STAR program transcends grades and attendance. It illuminates the profound truth that, as Choctaw tribal students, we are not just acknowledged but celebrated for our inherent potential for success. For too long, we stood in the shadows, perceived as unequal,” said Adams. “Today, through the STAR program, we not only stand shoulder to shoulder with our peers, but soar above, proving that equality is not just a principle, but a reality. In our pursuit of academic excellence, each day becomes a testament to our resilience, and it’s an honor to play a small part in recognizing and nurturing the brilliance that shines within every Choctaw student.”
Hope Storey, who currently works for Higher Education’s Technology Allowance Program, utilized the various programs Choctaw Nation offers students during college.
“Not only did that money help me buy a good laptop that would be reliable to do all of my work on, it has lasted me five years to my master’s program. Along with the help I have received from Choctaw for my bachelor’s, they are also helping me with my master’s degree,” said Storey. “Career Development and Higher Education have been nothing but a blessing to me and a weight off my shoulders when it comes to paying for school, and I am thankful to everyone who has been a part of that. I would have never thought in a million years that I would be working for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, and it has been a full circle moment coming to work for one of the programs I took advantage of when continuing my education.”
Career Development enables CNO tribal members to obtain recognized certifications. Services offered under Career Development include career counseling, career planning, job and salary outlook, financial aid counseling, tuition assistance and more.
High School Student Services (HSSS) serves students in grades 9-12, providing them with academic information promoting their education and career paths after high school. HSSS services include school visits, student advising, parent-teacher conferences, scholarship information, student success planners, ACT prep workshops, pre-approved reimbursements and more.
Below are just a few of the many educational programs offered by the Choctaw Nation. Note: some programs have limited enrollment periods which are listed with their descriptions.
The Higher Education Program offers financial assistance to eligible Choctaw tribal members actively pursuing a higher education degree at an accredited college or university.
To qualify, individuals must be a CNO tribal member, actively working towards at least an associate degree, enrolled in a minimum of three credit hours, and maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher in the previous semester.
The program is also open to concurrent high school students taking college courses.
Applications for the spring semester close on March 1, 2024.
The College Clothing Allowance is a one-time financial assistance program offered to Choctaw tribal members nationwide who are currently enrolled in accredited colleges or universities.
Eligibility criteria include being a CNO tribal member with a high school diploma or equivalency, having completed a minimum of 12 cumulative credit hours at an accredited institution, maintaining a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the most recently completed semester, and being actively enrolled in a minimum of 3 credit hours for the current semester.
Applications close on March 1, 2024.
The Technology Allowance program extends a one-time payment of $500 to Choctaw tribal members nationwide currently enrolled in accredited colleges or universities.
Eligibility requirements include a CNO tribal membership, possession of a high school diploma or equivalency, completion of a minimum of 12 cumulative credit hours at an accredited institution, and active enrollment in a minimum of 3 credit hours with a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the most recently completed semester.
Applications for the spring semester close on March 1, 2024.
The Success Through Academic Recognition (STAR) program is an incentive initiative designed to reward and encourage academic excellence for Choctaw members in grades 2 through 12.
Eligible students must be enrolled in the specified grades and possess a CNO tribal membership card. Incentives are distributed at the end of each semester, including a $50 gift card for all A’s, a $25 gift card for all A’s and B’s, and an additional $25 for perfect attendance. The STAR program serves as a motivating force, recognizing and celebrating the academic achievements of Choctaw students.
Applications for the previous fall semester close on April 1, 2024.
Other CNO Education Programs
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma offers education opportunities for its tribal members from preschool to postgraduate degrees and everything in between. Visit the complete list of education programs.
Johnson-O’Malley Program (JOM)
Provides funding for supplemental program through contracts with public schools within the Choctaw Nation service area to meet the specialized and unique educational needs of eligible students.
Providing a variety of services to employers and childcare providers including, but not limited to, workforce planning, recruitment and assessment of potential employees.
An online academy for Native American students who did not finish high school and want to earn their High School Equivalency Diploma.
Student School & Activity Fund (SSAF)
Offers an annual $100 grant to purchase of school supplies and clothing for Choctaw students possessing a tribal membership card.
Career Tech Concurrent Assistance
Assists high school juniors and seniors residing in Oklahoma with required expenses to attend training.
Assists Choctaw tribal members who are interested in pursuing a career in healthcare by providing support, funding, educational and career opportunities.
Graduation Stoles (College)
Presented as a memento to Choctaw tribal members who are completing a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree program.
Connecting Native American students to college and career opportunities.
Provides educational, health, nutritional, social and other services deemed necessary to promote school readiness in children aged 3-5.