There’s no getting around it: college is expensive, and it is a daunting task to figure out how you’re going to pay for it. One way to make that a little easier is to check this list of college scholarships for high school seniors.
One of the first steps towards paying for college for families of high school juniors and seniors should be to understand your financial aid situation. That includes federal and institutional aid, which may be comprised of both grants and loans based mostly on your family’s financial standing.
Your next step should be to research private scholarships.
There are thousands of different private scholarships for high school seniors available, and they are one of the best ways to help finance your child’s education. These private scholarships vary greatly in terms of eligibility, deadlines, application criteria, and award amounts, but if your child is in their senior year, it’s time to focus on the scholarships they’re going to apply for.
We’ve put together a list of scholarships that are not geographically restricted to students who live in a specific region, and can generally be used at any college your child plans to attend. We’ve divided the list into need-based scholarships, merit-based scholarships, essay competitions, and field-of-study scholarships. We have also provided a range of smaller and larger, less competitive and more competitive scholarships in this list. Consider it a starting point to give you ideas of other similar scholarships to which your senior might also be well-suited to apply!
Financial Need-Based Scholarships for High School Seniors
The following scholarships all take into consideration the financial need of the applicants when choosing who will receive them. There are generally other criteria considered as well – academic strength, academic or extracurricular interests, leadership qualities, and community service. However, you’ll need to demonstrate financial need for each of these scholarships.
Arlene and Dennis Schlosser Memorial Endowment Scholarship
This $3,000 scholarship, sponsored by the Epsilon Sigma Alpha service organization, is awarded to six students annually. Students are judged based on their leadership / service experience, financial need, and scholastic ability (academics).
Horatio Alger Association Scholarships
The Horatio Alger Scholarship is a program designed to assist students who have overcome obstacles and adversity in their lives. This is one of the larger need-based scholarship programs, and application is likely quite competitive. Applicants must demonstrate financial need ($55,000 or lower adjusted gross family income), as well as integrity, perseverance, and dedication to community service.
Dell Scholars Program
The Dell Scholars Program is a program designed to provide low-income students with scholarships to get into college and services to help them successfully complete college. Applicants must demonstrate grit, potential, and ambition. This is a large, competitive scholarship program with the potential for significant financial awards.
Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student Competition
The Elks National Foundation MVS Competition awards 500 four-year scholarships to qualified students each year. The awards are significant – they range from $4,000 to $50,000 (most are $4,000) spread over four years. Your child submits their application at a nearby Elks lodge. Applicants are considered based on leadership, academic achievement, community involvement, and financial need.
Merit-Based College Scholarships for High School Seniors
Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation
The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation is another one of the largest scholarship programs for rising college freshmen. This program awards 150 scholarships of $20,000 each, and as such is applied to by many high school seniors. The application takes into account academic achievement, leadership, and extracurricular involvement. The process is highly selective, and involves interviews and essays, as well. Applying to this scholarship is right for your child if they have exceptional academic achievement, they are applying to selective colleges, and they have been involved as a leader in extracurricular activities. If your child is going to apply to this scholarship, they should give themself plenty of time at the beginning of your senior year to apply.
Burger King Scholars Program
The Burger King Scholars program gives out a range of awards to students based on their GPA, work experience, extracurricular involvement, and community service. The program grants scholarships that range from $1,000 to $50,000, and there are not a set number of scholarships – in 2016, they granted about 2,800 scholarships.
Rotary Club Scholarships
Rotary Clubs, present in many communities across the United States, offer varying scholarships to local graduating high school students. These scholarships are localized, which make them a great opportunity to set yourself apart in a smaller pool of applicants. You have to do the legwork, though – check with your local Rotary Club to see what scholarship opportunities exist.
Essay-Based College Scholarships for High School Seniors
The following scholarships are all primarily based on the applicant’s performance on an essay task, usually related to the mission of the organization sponsoring the scholarship. These scholarship opportunities require you to devote a significant amount of time to planning, writing, and revising your essay, but the rewards can be fruitful if you are chosen! Your child shouldn’t apply to these scholarships blindly; they should research the organization sponsoring the scholarship, and only choose to apply if they can put their heart into the essay and believe they are a qualified candidate.
AFSA High School Essay Contest
The American Foreign Service Association holds an annual essay contest encouraging students to think about important international issues. Students must write an essay analyzing a critical current issue in international affairs and propose solutions to the given issue. The winner and runner-up receive $2,500 and $1,250 awards, respectively, as well as tuition to extracurricular educational programs.
Atlas Shrugged / Fountainhead Essay Contests
The Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead essay contests are some of the most prominent yearly essay contests for high school seniors. These contests ask seniors to write essays on one of three topics related to Ayn Rand’s novels, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Awards are given to winners and runners-up, totaling up to over $75,000 annually.
Voice of Democracy Essay Contest
The Voice of Democracy essay contest, sponsored by the VFW, is a unique contest in that students write their essays on a patriotic theme, then read them and submit them as audio recordings. The VFW gives out up to 54 awards ranging from $1,000 to $30,000 to the winners of this contest.
“I Matter” Scholarship
The Villa “I Matter” Scholarship offers 50 awards annually to students who demonstrate academic achievement, community service involvement, and more. Applicants must write an essay on a topic pertaining to the theme of “I Matter;” for example, the prompt for 2017 is related to exploring the efficacy of activism on social media. Awards range up to $1,000.
John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest
The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest is sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, and it awards cash prizes to the top 25 entries, including a top prize of $10,000 to $20,000. Each year there is a special contest topic; application involves researching and writing an essay related to John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage.
Field of Study-Based Scholarships
Your child may not know what they’d like to study in college, but if they have a good idea of a career or field to pursue, there are scholarships available for them. The following scholarships all take into account your child’s plans for their major, area of interest, or career.
Asia SiVon Cottom Scholarship
The Asia SiVon Cottom Scholarship is awarded to students who have excelled academically and are pursuing a degree in a science, math, engineering, or technology (STEM) field. The scholarship requires a short essay and the submission of other materials, and is awarded to a varying number of students.
William Randolph Hearst Foundation US Senate Youth Program
The William Randolph Hearst Foundation US Senate Youth Program might be for your child if they are interested in government, and they are passionate about studying politics. One can apply if they are active in student government and interested in studying government in college. Applicants need to show leadership, academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, and additional qualities. Each year, 104 winners are awarded $5,000 and a trip to Washington, D.C.
Buick Achievers Scholarship Program
The Buick Achievers Scholarship Program is a scholarship program awarding large scholarships to students who plan to major in engineering, technology, design, or business-related fields, and who are interested in applying their academic passion and expertise to working in the automotive industry. This scholarship takes into account academic achievement, financial need, and other factors, and it is quite competitive given the size of the awards.
Organize Your Scholarship List
We suggest making a calendar to keep track of everything you need to do in the college application process, and you’ll want to include scholarship applications on this calendar. From need-based, to merit-based, to essay-based, there are a wide range of scholarships for high school seniors, and the eligibility rules vary. Some scholarships may only be available to students who live in a certain region, or who are going to study in a particular field, or whose parents work for a specific company, for example. Others may only require submitting transcripts as part of an application, and still others may be distributed by choosing the winner of an essay contest.
Footing the bill for college is a big task, but you don’t have to go it alone – you have to put in quite a bit of work, but if you plan carefully and choose opportunities that are right for your child, there’s money available to make it a little bit easier. The scholarships for high school seniors we showed here are but a small sample of the opportunities out there, including many regional and local awards, so do your research and get started!
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The cost of college has been rising faster than the rate of inflation for quite a few years, now, according to the College Board, and that fast increase affects some segments of students harder than others. First-generation college students, non-traditional aged working adults, minority, and low-income students have the most difficulties paying for college, and that difficulty only increases the education gap between the middle class and the rest of Americans.
Fortunately, the unprecedented growth in higher education in the 21st century has been met with a wealth of scholarship opportunities offered from every corner of the nation: nonprofit charities, organizations, and professional associations; private industry; and all kinds of philanthropic foundations. Sources as disparate as the Henry David Thoreau Foundation and Duck Brand duct tape have gathered donors and provided means for students to pay their tuition.
Value Colleges has scoured the landscape of scholarships to uncover opportunities from a range of sources; some fly under the radar, too eccentric for the majority of students, while others offer a great number of options for a variety of demographics. Some advance a specific political or educational agenda, while others highlight creativity, innovation, and fun. Many may be little-known, giving applicants a high chance of winning.
Unlike other scholarship listings, which may be motivated by payola, narrowly focused, or even just random, the Value Colleges Scholarship guide is designed for usefulness, especially for Value Colleges’ key audience – those who need to make their education affordable and practical. That includes scholarships directed toward non-traditional students, minority and low-income students, and other students who put a premium on value.
The Value Colleges 2017 Scholarship list is not a ranking; it is a guide to scholarship options you might have missed. This list is organized chronologically by application deadline, through the year from January to July. In the event scholarships or contests have the same deadline, they are presented in alphabetical order. VC’s 2015-2016 Scholarship list is also useful for other year-round scholarships available; please do note that the deadline may be different from this year.
New York Women in Communications Scholarship Program
New York Women in Communications, Inc., is a long-standing non-profit organization founded in 1929 to provide support, knowledge, and networking for women in the communications field. With its location at the center of the industry, New York City, NYWIC has thousands of members at all levels of professional experience and income, with students and young executives representing the largest segment of growth. For women in advertising, public relations, publishing, and more, NYWIC makes sure women get their due.
NYWIC offers between 15-20 scholarships for young women in high school, college, or graduate school in the northeast (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania). Students mush be majoring or planning to major in a communications field, and graduate students must be members of the NYWIC. Applicants must fill out an online application and send a resume, essay, two letters of recommendation, and transcripts.
The Point Foundation Scholarships
The Point Foundation is the nation’s largest scholarship organization dedicated to meeting the financial needs of LGBTQ students, founded in 2001 by a group of business leaders motivated to provide much-needed guidance and mentoring to queer youth. Point’s work helps give LGBTQ young people the support they need to prevent dropping out, suicide, and isolation caused by harassment and violence.
Point Scholars are chosen based on a holistic assessment of their needs and achievements, including academic performance, community service, and career objectives. Special consideration is given to young people whose sexual orientation has cost them their family or community. All Point Scholars are given not only their scholarships, but assigned a personal mentor to guide their yearly service projects, with the intention of molding young people to be leaders in the LGBTQ community.
Henry David Thoreau Foundation Scholarship
Named for the American Transcendentalist philosopher and naturalist, the Henry David Thoreau Foundation is an environmental action group based in Somerville, MA. The Foundation works to impact the future of environmental science and activism by awarding scholarships and grants to promising students, scholars, and institutions doing cutting-edge, visionary work in environmental sciences and sustainability.
The Henry David Thoreau Foundation Scholarship offers a impressive $20,000 4-year scholarship to 8-10 graduating high school seniors in Massachusetts who plan to study interdisciplinary environmental programs in college. To apply, students must be graduating from a Massachusetts high school and entering college in an environmental major at an accredited institution. Winners will provide a yearly report of their environmental activities as well as a transcript proving academic success.
Hollister Co. Anti-Bullying Scholarship
The National Society of High School Scholars Foundation is an Atlanta, GA non-profit institution dedicated to improving the lot of minority students in STEM, business, public policy, and other areas in which minorities are underrepresented. The Hollister Co., a west-coast style brand, has partnered with the NSHSSF to offer the Hollister Co. Anti-Bullying Scholarship, a program for students who have been advocates for victims of bullying or succeeded academically despite being bullied.
The Hollister Co. scholarship is open to high school students throughout the US. Applicants must complete an essay of 500 words or less describing their personal experience with bullying, or their efforts to combat bullying in their school and community, along with transcripts, a recommendation from a teacher, and a resume detailing their academic awards and honors, community service, and other achievements. The award is $2500 and renewable for their 4 years of undergraduate studies.
The Optimist Club International is a well-known, globally-represented volunteer civic organization dedicated to providing opportunities to children and communities for building the future. More than 2500 local chapters work to fulfill the Optimist mission of making the world a better place with community engagement and education. Each local club performs their own activities, but the Optimist International also awards scholarships to deserving students.
The Optimist Club offers scholarships as prizes for three contests administered at the level of local Optimist Clubs: the Essay Contest, the Oratorical Contest, and the Communication Contest for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. A plaque and scholarship of $2500 will be awarded to the winner (the Oratorical Contest may have two winners). Students age 19 and younger who have not entered college are eligible to take part in the contests; those interested in participating should contact their local Optimist Club chapters.
State Farm Good Neighbor Scholarship
One of the best-known insurance companies in the US – especially recognized for their high-profile commercials and catchy jingle putting to music their motto, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” – State Farm is also recognized for their commitment to community service and leadership. The State Farm Companies Foundation contributes to and funds numerous scholarships through companies such as Scholarship America, including the Good Neighbor Scholarship.
The State Farm Good Neighbor Scholarship is dedicates to students who need financial assistance and may not qualify for other kinds of financial aid. The Good Neighbor Scholarship selects 50 graduating high school students who are intending to attend college, technical school, or vocational programs. This award pays for one year of tuition at the students’ college of choice, with some restrictions.
Amount: 1 year tuition
Bill of Rights Institute “We the Students” Essay Contest
Founded in 1999 by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, the Bill of Rights Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing schools and teachers with educational materials on the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and other documents and ideas by the Founding Fathers. The Bill of Rights Institute offers educational resources, student programs, and professional development seminars for teachers.
Rather than a conventional scholarship, the Bill of Rights Institute awards prizes for the “We the Students” Essay Contest, a national writing contest open to all American students between the ages of 14 and 19. Each essay contest has a prompt and educational materials to guide the student. Prizes are awarded up to $5000 for the national winner, with runners up and honorable mention receiving $1250 and $500, respectively.
National Geographic Bee Scholarship
The National Geographic Bee is an annual competition sponsored by the National Geographic Society, one of the world’s oldest and largest non-profit scientific support and education organizations. All public, private, and homeschool students are eligible, but the school must be registered as a Nat Geo Bee institution and designate a Bee Coordinator to oversee the selection of competitors. Qualifying students compete in a national contest in Washington, DC.
The national winer receives a $50,000 scholarship, along with other prizes (including lifetime membership in the National Geographic society, a trip, and $500 cash). The 2nd-place winner receives a $25,000 scholarship; 3rd place receives a $10,000 scholarship; all 4th-10th place runners-up receive $500 cash. The National Geographic Bee is highly competitive and open to all states and US territories, and qualifying to compete is an honor in itself.
Amount: $50,000 (winner)
Davidson Fellows Scholarship
The Davidson Institute for Talent Development is a non-profit organization dedicated to academic excellence and opportunity. Founded by Bob and Jan Davidson, the educational software entrepreneurs known for MathBlaster and ReadingBlaster, the Davidson Institute is dedicated to helping identify and support profoundly gifted students who may otherwise go unnoticed and fail to reach their potential without proper encouragement.
The Davidson Fellows Scholarship is offered for students 18 years old and younger who demonstrate a an advanced level of knowledge in their chosen field, defined as a graduate-student level of engagement with research in STEM, Humanities, or interdisciplinary studies. Applicants must be nominated and apply online with a title and description of their projects. Entries are categorized and evaluated by experts in the field, who determine whether the student’s work qualifies for a $10,000, $25,000, or $50,000 scholarship.
Daughters of the American Revolution - Richard and Elizabeth Dean Scholarship
The Daughters of the American Revolution is a well-known nonprofit women’s organization dedicated to community service through education, patriotism, and preserving historical landmarks and artifacts. Open to any American woman who can show a genealogical relationship to an American Revolution patriot, the Daughters of the American Revolution is a major contributor to scholarships and schools.
The Richard and Elizabeth Dean Scholarship is a DAR program open to any American student attending or planning to attend an accredited higher education institution in the US. As a merit scholarship, applicants must have a 4.0 high school GPA and maintain at least a 3.25 GPA in college. The $5000 scholarship is renewable for four years of college. Two scholarships are awarded each year, and while DAR membership is not required, students may be mentored by a DAR member.
Queer Foundation High School Seniors English Essay Contest
The Queer Foundation is a non-profit based in Seattle, WA, dedicated to empowering and supporting LGBT youth throughout the United States. The foundation provides scholarships to talented, academically and creatively gifted high school and college students who are out, proud, and committed to fighting discrimination in their communities and schools.
The Queer Foundation’s Annual High School Seniors English Essay Contest is open to high school students 18 years old and younger. The contest is designed to encourage powerful and influential writing by, for, and about queer youth; topics can vary from issues of queer youth health to the special educational concerns of queer teenagers. Students submit an essay of 3-5 pages (no more than 10) which will be evaluated for elements including originality, effectiveness, and motivation. Winners receive a $1000 scholarship.
Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship
The Jackie Robinson Foundation was founded in 1973 by Rachel Robinson, wife of the baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson, who famously broke the color barrier in professional baseball when he played for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. The foundation’s mission is to work to close the achievement gap for young African-Americans in higher education through scholarships, grants, and service programs. The Jackie Robinson Foundation has been acclaimed as a philanthropic model by sources such as the New York Times.
The Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship Program works to address the needs of minority college students by awarding as many as 60 scholarships per year and providing comprehensive mentoring to students across the US. In addition to awards for graduating high school seniors, the foundation offers awards for study abroad and graduate schooling. Applicants must send an application and two letters of recommendation highlighting educational merit and community service.
Amount: $7500 (annual; up to $28,000 for four years)
Military Commanders’ Scholarship Fund
The New York chapter of the American Logistics Association awards the Military Commanders’ Scholarship to the children of active duty military personnel, reservists, or retired service members. The ALA is a non-profit trade association dedicated to expanding and developing the military marketplace through partnership with corporations and businesses in the military channel; they are the best-known and most influential such group, with chapters throughout the US.
The Military Commanders’ Scholarship is awarded each year to provide educational opportunity to the children of military service members. Three awards are offered for each military branch (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard), in the amount of $5000 each. Winners are chosen based on academic achievement, community service, work experience, family circumstances, and other criteria, as well as significant financial need. Entries are managed and reviewed by Scholarship America.
UNCF/Anthem Corporate Scholars Program
The UNCF/Anthem Corporate Scholars Program is a workforce initiative designed to provide minority students with opportunities for business and communications careers. The United Negro College Fund is the nation’s best-known scholarship program for African-American and minority students, recognized by its long-running motto, “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste.” Anthem, Inc, is a healthcare insurance company, the largest in the Blue Cross/Blue Shield network, and the Anthem Foundation provides support for the communities Anthem serves.
An applicant for the Corporate Scholars Program must be a minority student at an accredited college or university in their junior year, majoring in business, communications, computing, or some related field. In addition to displaying strong problem-solving and communication skills, students must be capable of fulfilling an internship in areas including Atlanta, GA, St. Louis, MO, and others (see website for specific cities). Applicants may also qualify for internships with Anthem, Inc.
American Sleep Medicine Foundation High School Video Contest
The American Sleep Medicine Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to foster research and knowledge in sleep medicine. The ASMF awards grants to researchers in sleep studies, encourages young medical professionals to enter sleep research, and provides humanitarian aid and public education on sleep health.
The ASMF sponsors an annual High School Video Contest which awards winners with $1000 (split between the winner and their school). The 2017 contest is titled “Sleep Recharges You.” Students create a 30-second to 2 minute video on the importance of sleep to academic performance and health. Any American high school student may enter, and videos are evaluated in quality, originality, and relevance to young people.
Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship
A non-profit organization based in Baltimore, MD, the Vegetarian Resource Group works to educate the American public concerning issues of health, ethics, and ecology related to vegetarian and vegan life. The VRG publishes journals and cookbooks dedicated to vegetarianism, as well as funding research and learning through scholarships and grants. Through community and media campaigns, the VRG hopes to bring about positive change and promote vegetarian values nation-wide.
The VRG $5000 College Scholarship is available to students who work to promote vegetarianism and veganism in their schools and communities. Three winners are chosen each years: one $10,000 winner, and two $5000 winners. The competition is open to graduating high school seniors who can demonstrate a dedication to peaceful change related to vegetarian diet and lifestyle; applications require an essay describing work the students has done to promote vegetarianism, in addition to transcripts, at least 3 recommendations, and public documentation of their projects or accomplishments.
UNCF STEM Scholars Program
Founded in 1944, the United Negro College Fund is the best known scholarship organization in the US dedicated to providing opportunity in higher education to African-Americans and other minority students. UNCF awards more than $100 million in scholarships every year, helping more than 10,000 students and supporting the 37 HBCUs across the nation. With UNCF’s help, young minority students have more than a 70% chance of completing their degree.
The UNCF STEM Scholars Program works to help minority students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs, where minorities are notoriously under-represented and still face significant challenges, including educational access and systemic bias. The program provides scholarships for 500 black high school students preparing to major in a STEM field in college; $2500 for freshmen and sophomores, $5000 for juniors and seniors, and $5000 more for students in a 5-year program. Applications require a series of essays, at least 2 letters of recommendation, and a full application form including information about leadership and community service.
Discover Student Loans Scholarship Award
Offered by Discover Student Loans, a division of Discover Bank offering private student loans to undergraduates, graduate students, and professional studies students, the Discover Student Loans Scholarship Award is a random-drawing award sweepstakes. High school students or current undergraduate students are eligible, but only those attending accredited, nonprofit universities or colleges.
As a sweepstakes, the Discover Student Loans Scholarship Award permits students to earn up to 3 additional bonus entries by sharing the sweepstakes on social media or encouraging a friend to enter the sweepstakes. Random drawings of 10 entrants are conducted four times a year for a total of 40 winners, each of whom receives a $2500 scholarship to apply to their studies.
American Culinary Federation Education Foundation/American Academy of Chefs
The American Culinary Federation is the largest professional organization for chefs in the world, responsible for raising the position of chef in America from service to professional status. The American Academy of Chefs is the honor society of the American Culinary Foundation, an organization dedicated to mentoring young chefs as well as providing scholarships and grants to students and working chefs to pursue professional careers in cuisine.
The ACF Education Foundation and the AAC have come together to offer scholarships to high school and college students interested in culinary careers, as well as for working chefs preparing for further schooling. Ten culinary students are awarded $2500 scholarships each year; awards are need-based, and applicants must be studying in an American institution. Points are awarded for academic performance, community service, essay, recommendation letters, and involvement in ACF events.
Buick Achievers Scholarship Program
The GM Foundation, the philanthropic wing of the General Motors company, has been providing grants and scholarships for communities since 1976, primarily in the areas of STEM education, safety, environmental sustainability, and disaster relief. One such initiative is the Buick Achievers Scholarship Program, a fund that provides $25,000 annually to as many as 50 students across the US who need significant financial support to attend college.
The Buick Achievers scholarship is open to high school students, graduates, and college undergraduates in the US majoring in Engineering, Technology, or Design programs and displaying a career interest in some facet of the automotive industry. The award is based on achievement, financial need, and public service, and is renewable for up to five years for qualifying engineering majors.
Engebretson Scholarship Foundation
The Engebretson Scholarship Foundation is a charitable program honoring David J. Engebretson, a South Dakota-born businessman and philanthropist whose giving was dedicated to the needs of children and youth. The Engebretson Foundation has been awarding scholarships to deserving high school seniors in need of financial support for college since 2006.
High school students across the US are eligible for the Engebretson Scholarship, with no restrictions on major or career plans. Applicants must need financial aid and be attending or planning to attend an accredited college or university; a recommendation from a teacher is required. The award is annual, $5000 per semester, and winners may reapply each year to continue the scholarship.
Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree Pro Deo and Pro Patria Scholarships
The Knights of Columbus are an internationally-known Catholic fraternal organization, originally founded in 1882 to provide social benefits to members and their families, meeting needs such as aid for those unable to work due to sickness or disability, or to impoverished Catholic families. Today, the Knights provide services ranging from war and disaster relief to urban financial and food assistance, as well as educational aid.
The Knights of Columbus offer the Fourth Degree Pro Deo and Pro Patria (for God and for country, respectively) Scholarships for America students entering a Catholic college of university, especially the Catholic University of America, the only national, papal-chartered university in the US. Eligible applicants must be entering freshmen at a Catholic institution and a member (or the child of a member) of the Knights of Columbus. Awards are $1500 and are renewable for the four years of college.
Microsoft Corporation Blacks at Microsoft (BAM) Scholarships
Microsoft Corporation is justly famous globally for their dominance in the area of personal computing, having played a major role in ushering in the modern era of technology. But Microsoft is also known for their commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social responsibility, not only in their hiring and employment policies (they have top ranking from the Human Rights Campaign, for example), but in their outreach as well.
The Blacks at Microsoft Scholarship initiative is designed to help close a distressing gap in people of African descent in the tech industry and increase opportunities for black students. The BAM Scholarship is for black high school students in the US (including African-Americans and African immigrants and their children) who intend to enter technology, engineering, or tech-related business careers. Two letters of recommendation, a resume highlighting accomplishment and public service, and two short essays are required to apply.
Amount: $5000 (renewable four years)
Phi Theta Kappa-International Scholar Laureate Program Scholarship
The Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society is a national higher education honor society for students in two-year colleges, including community colleges, junior colleges, and technical or vocational schools. Students enrolled in a two-year associate’s program, certificate program, or similar institution, where a PTK chapter is constituted, are eligible for membership, with the benefits that membership provides.
One of the benefits the PTK Honor Society offers is the International Scholar Laureate Program, a tuition scholarship dedicated to study-abroad programs offered by the International Scholar Laureate. Eligible programs include business, diplomacy, engineering, and health care. Applications are judged according to financial need, academic excellence, and community service.
The Gallery Collection Create-a-Greeting Card Scholarship
The Prudent Publishing Company, a family-owned business dating back to 1929, is the maker of the Gallery Collection, a business-to-business mail-order, personalized greeting card line. With corporate clients including Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and Wal-Mart, they are the largest such company in the US. The Gallery Collection offers a scholarship contest for US students; winning designs will be incorporated into a greeting card, awarding the student a $10,000 scholarship, as well as $1000 for the student’s school.
Students 14 years old and older in any US state or territory are eligible, including high school and college students. Applicants will submit their design online, where they will be posted on a monthly basis for voting by Gallery Collection customers and fans; the top 10 designs will be evaluated by a panel of judges to determine one winner based on aesthetic appeal, creativity, appropriateness to a greeting card, and other factors.
The Dream US National Scholarship
The Dream US is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to providing educational opportunity to DREAMers, young people who entered the US as children and are denied access to financial aid and other educational benefits due to their undocumented status. Dream US provides scholarships to students with DACA or TPS status who are legally allowed to live and work in the US, and partners with more than 75 colleges and universities.
The Dream US National Scholarship provides financial aid for DREAMers with with insurmountable financial need. Applicants are considered based on conventional merit such as GPA and test scores, but also on their proven capacity to overcome the adversity undocumented status causes. This continuously renewable award will cover full tuition and fees up to $25,000 for a bachelor’s degree at one of Dream US’s partner institutions.
Amount: Tuition and fees
UCB Family Epilepsy Scholarship Fund
UCB, a Belgian pharmaceutical and biotech company with a US branch based in Atlanta, GA, is best known for their research into treatments for epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and Crohn’s disease. The 5th-largest biotech company, UCB has also made a commitment to communities, families, and healthcare professionals through their many charitable endeavors, such as the UCB Family Epilepsy Scholarship Fund.
The UCB Family Epilepsy Scholarship Fund is open to US students who live with epilepsy or provide care for family members with epilepsy. Thirty $5000 scholarships are awarded each year to students demonstrating academic excellence and personal achievements, while 2 $10,000 Epilepsy Leader scholarships are awarded to students showing exceptional community service, advocacy, or inspirational leadership. Applicants must submit an essay, 3 recommendations, and a medical history, as well as an optional artistic presentation.
American Foreign Service Association National High School Essay Contest
The American Foreign Service Association represents the members and retired members of the United States Foreign Service, including employees of the State Department, Foreign Agricultural Service, US Agency for International Development, and more. In addition to acting as a professional organization and labor union for foreign service workers, the AFS promotes diplomacy and foreign service through educational programs for students.
The AFS National High School Essay Contest is open to high school students in grades 9-12; public and private-school students in the US or US territories, and US citizens living in foreign countries, are eligible. Students are encouraged to think and write about pressing international issues such as the refugee crisis, and the winner of the contest receives $2500, a visit to Washington DC, a meeting with the Secretary of State, and a scholarship to a Semester at Sea.
ICMA-RC Public Employee Memorial Scholarship Fund
The ICMA-RC is a retirement benefit provider offered by the International City/County Management Association, a professional association of local civic leaders and managers. The ICMA-RC began with a grant from the Ford Foundation in 1972, and has grown into a major retirement planning option for public servants, with more than 500,000 participants.
The ICMA-RC offers the Public Employee Memorial Scholarship Fund, an opportunity reserved for the children of those who have died in public service, such as police officers, firefighters, and other city, county, and state employees. Applicants must provide documentation proving their eligibility, and be enrolled or planning to enroll in an accredited higher education institution, including 2 and 4-year colleges and universities. Winners may reapply for up to $10,000 over the course of their schooling.
Amount: up to $10,000
National Coalition Against Censorship - Youth Free Expression Film Contest
Founded in 1973 to protest the Supreme Court decision Miller v. California, the National Coalition Against Censorship helps coordinate more than 50 nonprofit organizations across the US to protect free expression. The NCAC works with local communities to mediate arguments over censorship where they take place, as well as educating and advocating for free speech to the public, lawmakers, and the media.
The Youth Free Expression Film Contest challenges young filmmakers 19 years old and under to make a 4 minute video addressing a free speech topic. Applicants will post their film to YouTube and write a short essay explaining their intentions; all work must be original. The winning contestant will receive a $5000 scholarship to the New York Film Academy; runners-up will receive prizes of $1000, $500, and $250 in cash.
American Legion - National High School Oratorical Contest
A veteran’s organization founded in 1919 by American WWI veterans, the American Legion is known throughout the US for their work advocating for veterans’ rights, assisting and supporting veterans’ hospitals, and memorializing veterans and casualties of war. In addition to their community service and lobbying, the American Legion promotes education in veterans’ issues, patriotism, and civic duty.
One such educational program is the National High School Oratorical Contest, an annual event encouraging high school students to speak for 8-10 minutes on the US Constitution. The contest is open to high school students 19 years old and under, US citizens or legal residents. National winners receive an $18,000 prize, $16,000 for second place, and $14,000 for third place; all contestants who make it to the national level of competition will receive a $1500 prize.
UNCF General Scholarship Program
The United Negro College Fund is one of the nation’s greatest forces for providing educational opportunity for minority students, first-generation college students, and and low-income students. Since 1944 the UNCF has supported Historically Black Colleges and Universities, giving billions of dollars in grants, scholarships, and other aid, and helping more than 400,000 students earn college degrees who otherwise would not have been able to afford an education.
The UNCF General Scholarship Program is open to any student currently enrolled in a UNCF Member College, made up of 36 HBCUs, including institutions in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and more. The General Scholarship is need-based, and students must fill out a FAFSA form to demonstrate need, as well as maintain a 2.5 GPA. Individual awards up to $5000 are available.
Amount: up to $5000
Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda Scholarships
The largest international student association of its kind, the Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda is dedicated to building student leadership and providing career development opportunities for business students. That work includes seminars and workshops, national competitions, and community service organized for and by FBLA-PBL members.
The FBLA-PBL offers numerous scholarship opportunities through its member institutions, which includes nationally-competitive, career-focused colleges and universities like Arizona State, Southern New Hampshire University, and Johnson & Wales University. These scholarships range in amount from $1000 to as much as $10,000, depending on the institution’s awards.
Ayn Rand Institute Essay Contests
A nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the Objectivist philosophy of author Ayn Rand, the Ayn Rand Institute is based in Irvine, CA and was founded in 1985. As the Center for the Advancement of Objectivism, the ARI is primarily concerned with educational efforts such as providing Rand’s books to schools and students, organizing lectures and courses, and providing a voice for Objectivism in the media.
The Ayn Rand Institute Essay Contests offer numerous opportunities for students in the US to win cash prizes, some small, some very substantial, to help with their schooling or personal pursuits. Three contests – dedicated to Rand’s major works, Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged – are available for different levels of high school and college students, from 9th grade to undergraduates and graduate students, with award levels ranging from $50 for honorable mention to as much as $20,000 for the most challenging.
Becas Univision Scholarship Program
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund has been providing students of Hispanic and Latino heritage educational opportunity since 1975. Besides offering numerous scholarship awards, and giving out over $500 million over its four decade history, the HSF also works to educate Hispanic families and students about the possibilities open to them, educationally, professionally, and civically, through school and community programs.
The HSF provides scholarship awards for high school, community college, undergraduate, and graduate students of Hispanic descent, largely need-based scholarships ranging from $500 to $5000 dollars. Applicants must be Latino in origin (including US citizens, permanent legal residents, and DACA or otherwise eligible non-citizens), complete a FAFSA application to prove financial need, and demonstrate a solid GPA of 3.0.
Walmart Associate and Dependent Scholarships
Everyone knows Walmart; as the world’s largest company (when measured by revenue), and the world’s largest private employer, Walmart is the most successful family-owed company in history. Due to their size, Walmart’s economic footprint is massive, with their charitable giving coming close to or exceeding $1 billion annually. Walmart’s giving has been particularly focused on education and disaster relief.
Walmart offers two scholarship funds for their associates and their associates’ dependents. Walmart employees who wish to return to school, can apply for the Associate Scholarship Program to receive benefits for an accredited college, university, or community college, or to pursue a degree through Walmart’s partnership with American Public University. The children and dependents of Walmart employees can apply for the Dependent Scholarship Program and obtain up to $13,000 over four years for a college education.
Amount: up to $13,000 (Dependent)
Deadline: 4/1/2017 (Dependent)
Penguin Random House - Annual Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contest
One of the largest publishing groups in the world, Penguin Random House publishes books for children and adults under more than 250 imprints, including Signet Classics, a line offering affordable, high-quality paperback editions of classic books. Penguin Random House’s dedication to social responsibility is deeply ingrained in their corporate culture and evident in their many outreach initiatives.
The Signet Classics Scholarship Essay Contest is one such initiative. Now in its 21st year, the Signet essay contest gives high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to win one of five $1000 scholarships. Contestants are judged by a panel on their performance on a short, 2-3 page essay on a selected topic (in 2017, one of five prompts about William Shakespeare’s The Tempest). The winning students’ school or public libraries will also be awarded the full library of Signet Classics editions.
Fleet Reserve Association Education Foundation Scholarships
The Fleet Reserve Association is a nonprofit group chartered by Congress to protect the retirement, pay, and other benefits of current and retired Sea Service members, including service members of the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. In addition to congressional lobbying for veteran’s rights, the FRA honors service members with awards and congressional receptions, and supports education with grants and scholarships.
The FRA sponsors more than a dozen scholarships named in honor of esteemed members and their families. Each of these scholarship awards are targeted toward different eligible groups, such as the children and dependents of medical personnel, students planning to major in engineering or aeronautics, or students going to graduate school. Most awards are $5000 and may have special requirements.
BHW Group Women in STEM Scholarship
The BHW Group is a web and app development company in Austin, TX, one of the nation’s most innovative, entrepreneurial tech industry hubs. The group has become one of the best known and most trusted in the region, with clients including the University of Texas and TASER International. Ranked as one of the best places to work in Texas, the BHW Group is also committed to community engagement.
To help close the gender gap in the tech industry, and meet the needs of young women interested in science, the BHW Group has developed a Women in STEM Scholarship program. Any woman pursuing a bachelor’s degree in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics program in the US is eligible. Applicants should write a short essay of 500 to 800 words on the role of apps in their life, or what their favorite app means to them.
Arborjet Taking Root Scholarship
Arborjet is a Massachusetts-based company specializing in tree health and protection. Arborjet’s tree-injection system provides control for invasive pests without spraying or applying pesticides to the soil, making a more eco-friendly solution that does not leach into the rest of the environment. Besides their business interests, Arborjet also takes public service seriously, with educational programs and outreach.
Arborjet sponsors the “Taking Root” College Scholarship Program, which encourages high school students who are interested in plant-related college majors and careers, including horticulture, entomology, or environmental science. The scholarship provides $1000 awards to 10 graduating seniors nation-wide, giving students a leg up on entering the field.
Digital Responsibility E-Waste Scholarship
Digital Responsibility is an initiative begun by a group of Silicon Valley professionals to call attention and raise awareness of the environmental dangers of digital waste – the tens of millions of tons of discarded cell phones, computers, and other digital devices that pollute the environment with plastics and heavy metals. Several sponsors have come together to provide funding for education and scholarships helping young people make a difference.
The E-Waste Scholarship is an essay contest sponsored by Digital Responsibility. Students enter the contest by filling out an online application and providing a 140-character tweet-ready summary of why e-waste matters. Ten finalists will be chosen to write a 500-1000 word essay expanding on their short statement; one winner will then be selected and awarded a $1000 scholarship. No age limit applies, and the contest is open to any high school, homeschool, college, or graduate school student.
Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship
The Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, a national organization recognizing two-year college students, offers a scholarship sponsored by Coca-Cola, the Leaders of Promise Scholarship. As the nation’s largest honor society of its kind, PTK is recognized at community colleges, junior colleges, and technical/vocational schools across the US.
The Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship is open to current and new Phi Theta Kappa members to provide financial help and give members the opportunity to build their leadership skills with the PTK society. Two hundred $1000 awards are given out each year, with 25 of those specifically set aside for military service members or veterans.
Society of Women Engineers Scholarships
The Society of Women Engineers is a nonprofit organization founded in 1950 to support women working in the engineering field, and to encourage young women to enter engineering education. Today the SWE works to improve inclusivity in the engineering field through education, grants, scholarships, networking, and advocacy. Their scholarships are especially effective, having given out over $750,000 in 2016 alone.
The SWE offers scholarships at two different levels: one for freshmen, and one for sophomore, upper division, and graduate students. To apply, students must be enrolled in an ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology)-accredited program, and be studying engineering, engineering technology, or computer science. SWE also has Reentry/Non-Traditional Scholarships for women returning to college and the workforce.
Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship
Phi Theta Kappa benefactors Rosemary and Lou Oberndorf fund this named scholarship from PTK, the nation’s leading honor society for two-year college students. The Oberndorf Lifeline to Completion Scholarship is a sort of emergency scholarship to provide one-time support to current students who have encountered an unexpected financial hardship and need extra financial assistance to finish their two-year associate’s degree or certificate.