Slowly but surely, American education is coming around to the realization that intelligence is more than just a number. The late Stephen Hawking famously dismissed IQ tests, and called people who bragged about their IQ “losers.” Meanwhile, elite liberal arts colleges and Ivy League universities – including Yale, Dartmouth, Penn, and Columbia – have made news by dropping the requirement for standardized tests from their application process. Colleges and universities across the nation are turning to more heavily weigh “non-cognitive variables” in their admissions process, recognizing that college is much more than tests and essays. Success in college requires good grades, of course, but it also requires community engagement, creative problem-solving, and good old-fashioned perseverance. College isn’t a sprint, after all, that can be summed up in a 3-hour test – it’s a 4-year ultra-marathon.
It should stand to reason: some people are good at standardized tests, and some people panic at the sight of a multiple-choice quiz; some are great in academic subjects like math and history, and others are great at hands-on subjects like mechanics and art. If people have different kinds of aptitudes, different ways of learning, and different ways of demonstrating their intelligence, why should college scholarship applications be one-size-fits-all?
What About No-GPA Scholarships?
Sure, most scholarship contests are still pretty much the same – write an essay, get recommendation letters, don’t even bother if you don’t have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, or score four digits on the SAT. But not all. Colleges and universities are admitting people who don’t correspond to the conventional definitions of academic excellence, and there are scholarship opportunities for everybody too.
Value Colleges has put together our listing of the 50 best No-GPA, easy-application scholarships out there. There’s a wide variety: some are region-specific, and some are nationwide; some have demographic restrictions, some are for anyone. They’re sponsored by companies, nonprofits, clubs, and schools. Some select random winners, and some are based on talents, accomplishments, or creativity. Odds are, at least one of these fits you like a glove.
AFSA High School Scholarships - American Fire Sprinkler Association
Fire sprinklers are an easy thing to take for granted, until you have a fire that needs putting out. But the American Fire Sprinkler Association is there to make sure the fire sprinkler manufacturers, contractors, designers, and everyone else in the industry get their due. Founded in 1981, the AFSA is a nonprofit organization that provides technical training, business consultation, and representation for the fire sprinkler industry, partnering with many other fire safety organization to increase the visibility of the humble sprinkler.
The AFSA also offers the AFSA High School Scholarships, a $2000 scholarship contest that is easy to enter and well worth the time. All graduating high school seniors are eligible – no GPA requirements, demographic requirements, or geographic requirements. Students simply apply, answer a simple 10-question quiz (it’s all open-book), and are entered to win. Ten random winners will receive $2000 each to be paid directly to their college or university, and they can then tell everyone fire sprinklers don’t just save buildings – they help kids go to college.
All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship - Iowa College Student Aid Commission
The Iowa General Assembly established the Iowa College Student Aid Commission in 1963 to provide opportunity for Iowans who wanted to attend college, and for more than five decades the commission has been doing that service. The ICSAC provides scholarships, grants, and loan forgiveness for more than 25,000 students every year, helping to remove financial barriers that would keep Iowa’s young people and working adults from making the most of their education, careers, and lives. As the ICSAC says, “College Changes Everything.”
The All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship is designed to help disadvantaged students get the chance to go to college when circumstances would not allow. The scholarship does not require a minimum GPA or any other academic qualification to apply, but certain students are given priority: students aging out of the foster care system; students from alternative high schools; students from federal TRIO or GEAR UP programs. Obviously, only Iowa residents accepted into a college or university in Iowa are eligible. Award amounts are based on FAFSA Expected Family Contribution.
Army ROTC Scholarships
Since it was founded in 1916 by the National Defense Act, the Army ROTC program has been a crucial part of training high-quality officers and providing educational opportunity for students for more than a century. The Army ROTC is the largest of the nation’s ROTC programs, with more than 20,000 cadets in more than 200 colleges and universities, and remains one of the most important means of entering a full-time career in the military, or keeping the reserves staffed and strong.
The Army ROTC offers several scholarship opportunities for students, depending on their current status. For high school students planning to spend all 4 years in the ROTC, all expenses are paid for all 4 years, along with a monthly living stipend, in exchange for an 8-year commitment: four years of ROTC, and four years as an active-duty personnel or reserve. However, current college students can join the ROTC at any point, earning 3 and 2-year scholarships as well, entering the Army with an officer’s commission upon graduation.
Barbara Rhomberg Excellence in Nursing Scholarship - B4 Brands
B4 Brands, one of the world’s leading environmentally-friendly hygiene companies. Since launching their environmentally responsible product line in 2012, B4 has become known for their conscious hand-cleaning products, used widely in hospitals and doctor’s offices. Considering their commitment not only to health and wellness, but to responsibility to the community and environment, it should be no surprise the B4 extends that commitment to education funding for nurses – one of the primary users of their products.
The Barbara Rhomberg Excellence in Nursing Scholarship is named for a nurse who was widely beloved in her Iowa hometown. Just a Rhomberg returned to school late in life, after her education was interrupted by marriage and raising 8 children, the Rhomberg Scholarship is intended for nontraditional-aged students who are returning to school after a gap of at least 3 years. Any nursing student who meets those qualifications are eligible to apply for a $1000 scholarship to help them in their goal to serve and heal the community.
Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program - US Department of State
Study abroad is one of the greatest opportunities for college students to develop their skills (especially in languages) and expand their understanding of the world, but it’s also valuable to US business, government, and security. The US State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs understands the value of international study for education, and sponsors many students through the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, named for the long-time chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee, who sponsored Congressional funding for the program in 2000.
The Gilman International Scholarship Program awards nearly 3000 American college students as much as $5000 to study abroad, making it one of the most generous study-abroad scholarships available. There are no GPA or essay requirements; applicants simply need to be American citizens currently enrolled in college, and be eligible to receive a federal Pell Grant. However, there are restrictions – students cannot travel to a country designated a level 3 or 4 travel risk, and the scholarship cannot be renewed.
Blimpie Scholarships - Kahala Brands
Blimpie is one of the most famous names in sandwiches – a deli that started in Hoboken, NJ, in 1964 and spread across the US. Blimpie makes community service as important as customer service, and offers opportunities for students to research the business as well as scholarships. The Randy G. Pirotin Educational Scholarship is an annual contest named in honor of the entrepreneur who began his successful career working at a Blimpies in Queens, NY. When Pirotin passed on in 2008 from cancer, Blimpie started a scholarship to recognize his achievements.
The Pirotin Educational Scholarship is available for any Blimpie associate who is enrolled in college, giving employees the support they need to prove that success can come from anywhere, just like Randy. This $5000 scholarship is awarded based on a number of factors, from academic success to community engagement and inspirational leadership. One scholarship is awarded each summer for the upcoming school year.
BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship
The BMI Foundation was founded in 1985 as the charitable wing of Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), one of the largest performance licensing and publishing organizations in the US. Establishing in 1939 to compete with the ASCAP (which monopolized music publishing at the time), BMI became the primary publisher of country, classical, jazz, and rock music, which ASCAP generally ignored. As such, BMI became one of the dominant sources of royalties for performers and a massive influence on the music business. The BMI Foundation gives back with awards, commissions, and scholarships for up-and-coming artists and students.
The BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship isn’t necessarily easy – after all, jazz isn’t easy. But it does not require essays, GPA, test scores or anything else: just jazz. Intended to mirror the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship, one of the most prestigious awards in jazz music, the Future Jazz Master Scholarship is open to currently-enrolled college students between 17 and 24. The qualifications for the $5000 award, obviously, include a high level of jazz musicianship and compositional skills. Past judges have including jazz legends such as pianist Ahmad Jamal and bassist Ron Carter.
Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship Program
The Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship Program is one of the most unique scholarships in the nation, created to address a systemic injustice of past generations. The Supreme Court decision in 1954 in the case of Brown v. Board of Education declared segregation illegal, but throughout the South, states, cities, and school boards resisted integrating schools, even to the point of closing public schools and denying education to black students altogether. That was the case in numerous counties in Virginia, and the Brown Scholarship is uniquely intended to provide an opportunity, more than five decades later, to students who were unjustly denied.
The Brown Scholarship is available to Virginia residents who, between the years of 1954 (when Brown v. Board was decided) and 1964 (when Virginia was forced to integrate), were denied education due to the closing of schools. This scholarship is a way of giving back to those whose lives and potential were affected by institutional racism. At this time, only renewals are accepted; no new scholarships are currently being offered.
Burger King Scholars Program - Burger King McLamore Foundation
The Burger King McLamore Foundation, named for Burger King co-founder John McLamore, was founded in 2005 as the nonprofit charitable wing of the Burger King corporation. Through the foundation, Burger King is dedicated to providing service and opportunity in the community in a variety of forms, including scholarships. Since the foundation was established, Burger King has provided more than $32 million in scholarships for more than 30,000 students, making good on McLamore’s promise to give back.
The Burger King Scholars Program, administered through Scholarship America, provides scholarship opportunities for Burger King employees, as well as the family members of employees. Employees and their families in the US, Puerto Rico, and Canada are eligible, and there are no further requirements for consideration beyond an association with Burger King – no minimum GPA, no essays, and no recommendations.
C-CAP Careers Through Culinary Arts Program Scholarship - Art Institute of Phoenix
The Art Institute of Phoenix has become well-known since its founding in 1995, providing affordable degree programs in design, fashion, advertising, and culinary arts. Originally a for-profit institution, the Art Institute of Phoenix is now operated as a nonprofit by the Dream Center Foundation, a Christian charitable organization based in Los Angeles. The Art Institute has long been a supporter of students’ dreams, and with its move to a nonprofit basis, the institute expects to provide even more opportunity to more students.
The Art Institute of Phoenix, and the Art Institutes system, offers numerous scholarship opportunities for students, many of them tied to competitions, performance, or merit, but the C-CAP Careers through Culinary Arts Program Scholarship is available for any student in a C-CAP Program. The C-CAP organization provides opportunity for low-income and underrepresented students who want to enter a culinary arts career. Through C-CAP’s partnership with Art Institute of Phoenix, culinary arts students can receive a full scholarship, valued at as much as $96,000.
Cappex Easy College Money Scholarship
The Cappex tagline, “Your College Decision Headquarters,” isn’t just hyperbole – since it was founded in 2006, Cappex has become an international leader in information and advice for college-seekers. Students look to Cappex for unique features, including a universal college application that applies to more than 125 colleges and universities automatically. In addition, Cappex has become recognized as a clearinghouse of information about scholarship and grant opportunities, as well as a source for its own scholarship awards.
The Cappex Easy College Money Scholarship is precisely what the title says – an easy-entry scholarship drawing that awards $1000 to students. All students need to do to apply is establish a Cappex profile, add some information about extracurriculars and interests, and wait for Cappex to do a random drawing for the winner. There’s pretty much no easier way to apply for a college scholarship.
Catholic Financial Life Orphan’s College Scholarship Benefit
Founded in 1868, when Catholics all over the US faced discrimination, Catholic Financial Life was originally an insurance company and fraternal organization designed to help Catholics organize and help themselves when other companies would not. Today, it’s the second-largest Catholic organization in the US and a major insurance and financial services provider. CFL’s many services include aid for the children of deceased members, including monthly stipends for minor children and scholarship opportunities for college students.
The CFL Orphan’s College Scholarship Benefit is available to the children of any deceased member; however, stepchildren and foster children are not eligible. The applicant must be enrolled as a full-time 4-year or 2-year degree student at a college, community college, or university. Awards are available for full annual tuition, up to $4000, until 24 years old. There are no further requirements such as recommendation letters or contests; all young people with a parent who was a member of the CFL are qualified.
Beginning with a simple, Craigslist-style service for students at Iowa State University, Chegg has grown into a publicly-traded, billion-dollar company since 2005. Chegg revolutionized higher education with its online textbook-rental concept, then expanded into online tutoring, citation services, scholarship and internship information, and more. From a small upstart to a major corporation, Chegg now partners with education giants like Pearson and has become a household name to any household with college-bound students.
Chegg is an omnibus of scholarships; virtually every national scholarship gets listed at Chegg, allowing students to apply to more than 25,000 scholarships conveniently, through a personalized account. Of course, Chegg gets into the act themselves, with the ridiculously simple $1000 Monthly Scholarship, which awards $1000 to a randomly-chosen winner every month. Rather than a minimum GPA or an impressive essay, Chegg asks a simple question that takes just a minute to answer – like “If you had $10 for lunch, what would you eat?” (The answer should always be “giant burrito.”)
Coca-Cola Scholars Program - Coca-Cola and Phi Theta Kappa
The Coca-Cola Foundation, the Coca-Cola company’s charitable wing, has been one of the nation’s leading corporate philanthropies since 1984, committed to distributing 1% of the corporation’s budget in charity every year. That has translated to more than $100 million annually, including numerous scholarship opportunities from the Coca-Cola Scholars Program. For more than 25 years, Coca-Cola has helped support 150 students yearly, including students who have gone on to be Rhodes Scholars, nonprofit founders, and CEOs of major corporations.
The Coca-Cola Scholars Program offers several scholarship opportunities that are achievement-based, but not bound to the conventional achievements of test scores and GPAs. Coca-Cola Scholarships are awarded based on community service, extracurricular activities, and other forms of service and achievement. Scholarships are available for both 4-year university and 2-year community college students, including a special award for members of Phi Theta Kappa, the 2-year college honor society.
Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation Scholarships
Not a day goes by that we don’t hear someone wring their hands over all the basic facts that young people don’t know – the year of the Declaration of Independence (1492), how many feet are in a mile (all of them), or how to find Belgium on a map (to your right. Your other right). That’s a job for the Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Nova Southeastern University to award scholarships rooted not in GPA scores or recommendations, but on young people’s command of common knowledge, useful facts, and dinner-party impressing trivia.
The Common Knowledge scholarship competition is ridiculously simple to enter. Students register with the CKSF, and they are then able to take internet quizzes on a range of subjects, including common knowledge (like how many seeds are in the average pomegranate), books, movies, and other topics. Quizzes are automatically graded on accuracy and speed, and the applicant with the highest score wins anywhere from $250 to $2500 for their college tuition. Students all over the US, at almost any college or university, are eligible. So brush up on your history, geography, and quantum physics, and check out the Common Knowledge Scholarship Foundation.
Corinne Jeannine Schillings Foundation Scholarship
A Silver Award Girl Scout and foreign language major, Corinne Jeannine Schillings was just 26 years old when she died tragically, along with her fiance, in a boating accident in Baltimore’s inner harbor. The Corinne Jeannine Schillings Foundation began in 2005 to memorialize Corinne’s love of languages, the Girl Scouts, and education, and has been dedicated to providing educational opportunity for women for over a decade now. Nearly 250 scholarships have been awarded in Corinne’s name since the Foundation began.
The Schillings Foundation Scholarship is intended to support and motivate young women to major in a foreign language. Applicants must be planning to major or minor (or already majoring or minoring) in a foreign language at a 4-year college or university; applicants must also be Girls Scouts with at least a Silver Award level achievement. The scholarship provides $1500 annually, and may be renewed three times; however, for renewal students must maintain a B average. The Foundation also offers a $1000 travel scholarship for Girl Scouts of any major who want to study abroad to learn a foreign language.
Create-a-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest - The Gallery Collection
The Gallery Collection is a mail-order, personalized greeting card line made by the Prudent Publishing Company, but this is no small-time Etsy store. A family-owned business since 1929, the Prudent Publishing Company counts some of the biggest corporations in the world among its business-to-business customers, including Walmart, Microsoft, and Coca-Cola. Basically, if you need customized cards for a few thousand of your closest friends, call the Gallery Collection. And if you want a $10,000 scholarship, apply to the Create-a-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest.
The Create-a-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest works exactly as you imagine – applicants design an original greeting card, and the design that gets the Prudent Publishing Company’s seal of approval wins $10,000 toward their college education, as well as $1000 for their school. And even if you don’t win the big prize, if the company likes your design well enough to publish it as a card, you’ll be paid just like one of their own designers. It’s a great opportunity for students with an eye for design to finance their education – and maybe get your foot in the door of one of the biggest card companies in the nation.
Daughters of the American Revolution Nursing Scholarships
Founded in 1890, in the excitement of the United States’ centennial, the Daughters of the American Revolution was formed to celebrate the heritage of the Founding Fathers and patriots. Over the years, the DAR has expanded their mission and become one of the most diverse heritage-based service groups in the US, accepting any woman who can demonstrate descent from a soldier, civil servant, prisoner of war, medical professional, or any other person who helped in the struggle for independence. With more than 185,000 members, the DAR is a community service organization that makes major impacts in veteran care, literacy, and education.
Among the many heroes of the American Revolution recognized by the DAR are nurses who served, so it’s appropriate that the Daughters of the American Revolution offers numerous nursing scholarships. For nursing students who are also members of the DAR, the Madeline Pickett (Halbert) Cogswell Nursing Scholarship provides a $2500 award, while students with financial need may apply to the $2500 Caroline E. Holt Nursing Scholarship. Other location-specific scholarships, including Lowell, MA, and Washington, DC, are available.
Discover Student Loans Scholarship Award Sweepstakes
Discover Bank dates back to 1911, but this more than a century-old bank is best known for its credit card and loan programs, especially student loans. Discover started College Covered as a simple, user-friendly website for information about college, from applications to scholarships to loans, but Discover doesn’t just do loans – they also provide scholarship opportunities for students.
The Discover Student Loans Scholarship Award Sweepstakes runs on a quarterly basis all year long, with random entries four times a year. Any US high school student over 16 years old, or college student with at least a half-time schedule, is eligible to enter. All that is required to enter is an application, and students can earn bonus entries by referring friends, sharing on social media, and answering survey questions. Four times a year – April, July, October, and February – three random Grand Prize winners receive $10,000, for no more effort than filling out an online application.
Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway
We don’t know where Dr Pepper’s doctorate came from – supposedly it was named for Dr. Charles Pepper, a friend of the inventor, pharmacist Charles Alderton – but we do know Dr Pepper has helped a lot of young people go to college. Since 2008, the Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway has been one of the most generous and prominent corporate scholarship programs in the world, awarding more than $10 million to students from all over the US.
Any young person heading to college, or already in college, can apply for the Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway. Forget conventional requirements, like a high GPA or recommendations from teachers and advisors; students enter through Facebook, post a 350 word (or less) goal, and make a video of less than 1 minute. Winners are announced at the NCAA championship football games in December. Videos should be smart, funny, inspiring, and otherwise show the student’s personality and potential. The 5 highest winners receive $100,000, with prizes of $25,000 and $2500 for second and third place winners.
Dr. William Louis Gaines Need-Based History or International Relations Scholarship - IES Abroad
IES Abroad is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing American students with study-abroad opportunities. IES Abroad started in 1950, when an Austrian student studying in America on a Fulbright Scholarship returned the favor by bringing a group of American students to Vienna. IES’s commitment to turning study abroad – once a luxury for wealthy students – into a meaningful academic program led to the Model Assessment Practice, now an internationally-recognized standard for study abroad programs.
IES Abroad offers the Dr. William Louis Gaines Need-Based History or International Relations Scholarship for students who need financial aid to attend an IES-sponsored study abroad. Applicants must be either history or international relations majors, and must be enrolled at an IES Abroad consortium member school (more than 250 colleges and universities). In exchange for the scholarship, students must supply a brief biographical description for publicity, and write a 1-page report about their experience after returning home.
Fleet Reserve Association Education Foundation Scholarships
Chartered by Congress in 1924, the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) is a nonprofit organization created with the mission of protecting the rights of enlisted servicemembers, who could not advocate for themselves. Created in response to concerns over sailors’ rights in WWI, the FRA continues, nearly a century later, to lobby Congress to protect the pay, benefits, and rights of active-duty Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard personnel and their families. That also includes awards for distinguished personnel, and a wealth of generous educational scholarships for members and their families.
The FRA Education Foundation awards scholarships for FRA members, as well as their families, including spouses, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. There are no special requirements to apply, beyond being a member of the FRA or the family member of an FRA member. Recipients are eligible for up to $5000, and the FRA distributes more than $100,000 every year to qualified applicants. Applicants must be US citizens and enrolled full-time in an accredited American institution.
Florida State Scholarship and Grant Programs
Florida has one of the highest rates of population growth in the US, and its colleges and universities are keeping pace; several of Florida’s public universities ranks among the fastest growing, including the University of Central Florida, which has nearly doubled in the last two decades. To make sure Florida students can afford to keep up with the growth, the Florida Department of Education offers a number of funding opportunities, many of which are not tied to grades or contests at all.
Some awards are more general, such as the Access to Better Learning and Education Grant Program and the Boyd Access Grant, which are available for any Florida student studying at a qualified private college or university. Others are more specific to in-need populations, such as the First Generation Matching Grant Program, the Florida Student Assistance Grant Program, and Minority Teacher Education Scholars Program. Some are highly specific; the Rosewood Family Scholarship is only available to the descendents of families affected by the Rosewood Massacre, while the Scholarships for Children and Spouses of Deceased or Disabled Veterans is precisely as described. Requirements vary, so interested students should check the eligibility rules on the Florida Department of Education website.
Fulbright US Student Program
Since the Fulbright Program was established by Congress in 1946, the name “Fulbright” has been synonymous with achievement. Proposed by Senator William Fulbright, the program named for him was intended to encourage international cooperation through education, student exchange, and research. Today, the Fulbright Student Program is the largest student exchange program in the US, sending nearly 2000 students to more than 140 countries every year to teach English, do research, and participate in cultural exchange that helps keep America a positive figure for change in the world.
Qualifying for a Fulbright takes in a lot of different factors, some academic, some not. Academics are important, but the committee takes all kinds of other skills into account, including language mastery, extracurricular activities, awards, and other variables that show Fulbright that you’ll be a good candidate for international travel. With so many potential destinations, awards vary, but students can expect the program to pay for travel, housing, food, health benefits, and other basic requirements such as books. Applicants must be new college graduates.
German Studies Research Grant - DAAD USA
The DAAD (in English, the German Academic Exchange Service) is essentially Germany’s Fulbright Program – the largest funding organization for German students and researchers, as well as students and researchers going to Germany. Since 1925, the DAAD has sent nearly 2 million German students and scholars abroad, with the goal of increasing Germany’s international influence and bringing German education all over the world. Publicly supported, the DAAD is now the world’s largest exchange program.
The German Studies Research Grant allows American students studying German, either as a major or minor, to travel to Germany for a one to two-month research study. The Research Grant provides students a chance to experience contemporary Germany in an immersive, interdisciplinary setting; however, the grant cannot be used in conjunction with another study abroad program. Undergraduate juniors and seniors, as well as graduate students, are eligible to apply.
GOBankingRates is a personal finance website that began in 2004 as a resource to help consumers find the best interest rates for loans and other banking products. In over a decade since that launch, GOBankingRates has become a comprehensive resource, partnering with numerous global leaders like CNBA, MSN Money, and Yahoo Finance to bring information, advice, and news to more than 1 billion consumers. With a focus on practical finance, and fun, engaging articles and videos, GOBankingRates makes saving and investing entertaining.
In addition to content, GOBankingRates provides scholarship opportunities for graduating high schoolers and current college students with the GOBankingRates Scholarship. The GOBankingRates scholarship requires a brief essay of 500 words answering a timely and complex prompt – whether the cost of tuition is worthwhile, considering its effects on students and the US economy. There’s no easy answer, but the winner will receive $2500 to put a dent in their own tuition costs.
Golden LEAF Scholarship Programs - College Foundation of North Carolina
The College Foundation of North Carolina is a crucial government agency that has been providing financial assistance to NC students for generations – and one of the reasons North Carolina has one of the nation’s top higher education systems. A collaboration between Pathways, the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority, and the College Foundation, Inc., CFNC makes college possible for thousands of students every year.
Over its history, North Carolina has been heavily agricultural, and as the state has moved to a more tech and business-based economy, many rural counties have been left behind. The Golden LEAF Scholarship Program is intended for North Carolina students from economically distressed and tobacco-dependent counties, providing $3000 annually for students either transferring from community college to a university, or to high school students entering college as freshmen. Given to more than 200 students annually, the Golden LEAF provides rural students with the opportunity to take a step into the future.
Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund - American Bar Association
Since 1878, the American Bar Association has set standards for legal education, ethical rules, and licensing requirements for attorneys in the US. It is the single most important organization keeping the legal profession in check. However, the Bar is aware of the deep racial and cultural biases that affect the legal profession, and the American justice system in general. That’s why the Office of Diversity & Inclusion is an important part of the Bar Associations, tasked with making sure that ABA Goal III – full inclusion – is a continued mission.
The Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund is designed to help racial and ethnic minority students, especially those from an underrepresented background, attend law school. A strong population of minority attorneys is key to making sure justice is served, and the Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund helps encourage minority students to apply to law programs. Twenty students are selected for the $15,000 scholarship each year, and more than 350 young legal scholars have benefitted from the scholarship.
Maryland Higher Education Commission Scholarships
The Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) is the 12-member board (appointed by the governor and including one student representative) responsible for Maryland’s college system, including regulating and monitoring community colleges, trade schools, for-profit schools, and both public and private universities and colleges. The MHEC also oversees financial aid, and offers many financial aid opportunities for students from Maryland, many of which have very clear and simple guidelines, and require no minimum GPA or essays to apply.
These opportunities may, however, be reserved for very specific populations. The Veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq Conflicts Scholarship program is open to children or spouses of War on Terror veterans; the only requirements are official documentation proving your relationship to a war veteran. The Conroy Memorial Scholarship and Cryor Memorial Scholarships, similarly, are open to the child or spouse of a veteran killed or disabled in the line of duty, or to the children and spouses of someone killed or disabled in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Other opportunities are available for firefighters, first responders, and nurses. For specific details, including deadlines, check the MHEC site.
Matthews & Swift Educational Trust Scholarships - Knights of Columbus
The largest Catholic fraternal organization in the US, the Knights of Columbus are internationally recognized and play a major role in community service and education. Founded in 1882, the Knights’ original mission, in an era before social services, was to provide support for Catholic families suffering from poverty, such as aid for families whose breadwinner could not work due to illness or injury. Today, the Knights provide insurance, disaster relief, support for persecuted Catholics around the world; they are also important for their support of education, through contribution to schools and scholarship programs.
The Matthews & Swift Educational Trust Scholarships, from the Knights of Columbus, were originally intended to provide education for the children of Knights members who were killed in WWII, but today the scholarship has expanded to include the children of members killed or rendered disabled in military action, law enforcement, or firefighting. The Matthews & Swift Scholarship provides full tuition, up to $25,000 per year (but not room, board, or other expenses).
Meredith MacRae Memorial Award - Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts
Regularly ranked as one of the top regional college in the West, Chapman University is a private, Disciples of Christ-affiliated institution in Orange, CA. Dating back to 1861, when it was founded as one of the first colleges open to men and women of all races, Chapman has become one of the nation’s top schools for business, entertainment, and film, thanks to its location in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The Dodge College of Film and Media Arts is widely considered one of the best schools of its kind worldwide, and their Women in Focus Conference is a leading event for women in the film industry and academia.
Women who are currently enrolled as film students at the Dodge College are eligible to apply for the Meredith MacRae Memorial Award. The MacRae award, named for the late actress and producer, is intended for students who have shown excellence in acting, directing, and producing. The award provides funding for the students’ thesis project and is awarded at the Women in Focus Conference; the awardee is also given membership to the Women in Film organization.
Missouri Department of Higher Education Grants and Scholarships
Missouri has been making major strides in its higher education system, especially in its public University of Missouri System institutions, and the state provides a great deal of support for its young people and nontraditional-aged college students. The Missouri Department of Higher Education offers numerous grants and scholarships, many of which require only that a student be a Missouri resident, and many others that require only to meet basic requirements – no essays, GPA requirements, or other standards. All Missouri college students with demonstrated need, for instance, are eligible for the Access Missouri Financial Aid Program. The Barnett Memorial Scholarship, in turn, provides extra financial help for Missouri students who are working their way through school.
Other scholarships are for Missouri students who have lost parents in some eligible service. The Kids’ Chance Scholarship is available for students who have had a parent die or become permanently disabled due to an on-the-job accident covered by Workman’s Compensation. The Public Service Officer or Employee’s Child Survivor Grant Program provides funding for students who have lost family members in government service, such as law enforcement or construction. The Wartime Veteran’s Survivors Grant Program, in turn, is offered to Missouri students whose parent was killed or disable in military service since 9/11. All of these grants and scholarships have their own deadlines and amounts, so interested students should look to the official website for details.
NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship Program
The path for a college athlete can sometimes be murky; while many young people enter college athletics expecting to play professionally, statistically, very few will ever do so. That’s why the NCAA puts a priority on academics and well-being for student athletes, maintaining high standards of achievement and tracking graduation rates to ensure that students get the most out of their college experience. The NCAA also encourages students to seek success outside of athletics, and after their college career comes to an end.
The NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship Program is open to any student competing at an NCAA-affiliated college or university who wants to go on to graduate school. Applicants must be in academic good standing and entering their last year of competition, or have already graduated, and must be nominated by their Faculty Athletics Representative. The award is $7500, and nominations can be made in Fall, Winter, and Spring, following the NCAA athletics seasonal schedule.
Navy ROTC Scholarships
The Navy ROTC was established in 1926 after a successful experiment at St. John’s College in Annapolis (the home of the US Naval Academy. Originally intended to provide a reserve of trained officers in case of national emergency, the NROTC today trains officers for active duty, with graduates required to serve at least 5 year in the Navy, or 4 years in the Marines. The NROTC Program is available at more than 160 colleges and universities in the US, including military academies, small liberal arts colleges, and large public universities.
The NROTC is the main source of commissioned officers for the Navy and Marines, and in the interest of attracting the best prospects for leadership, the NROTC offers generous scholarships in exchange for service. All tuition and fees are paid for ROTC students, along with book stipends and other aid. In the past decade, the increasingly technical aspects of military life have led the NROTC to more heavily recruit and incentivise STEM majors, but any major is welcome.
Niche has made its name on being the most comprehensive source for statistics on cities and schools – the way to “Discover the schools and neighborhoods that are right for you,” as their motto says. Niche gathers copious information from publicly-available data, but where Niche has really made their mark is with the millions of surveys and reviews that get down to the real world, and real people’s experience of schools and colleges. With their commitment to helping students find the perfect college, Niche also offers numerous scholarships.
The Niche No Essay College Scholarship has rightfully become well-known, thanks to its extreme simplicity – literally just creating a Niche account for a chance to win $2000 in a random drawing each month. But Niche also offers specialized, $500 scholarships for students studying art, culinary science, or nursing, as well as $500 scholarships for graduate students and community college students. Niche knows that all kinds of education and institutions might be right for students, and Niche’s easy scholarships spread the wealth with that same spirit.
Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku and Senryu Competition - Haiku Society of America
Haiku and senryu are two of the most accessible, yet profound, poetic forms in the world. These short poems (just 3 lines of 17 syllables) touch on nature (haiku) and human nature (senryu), and have historically been used to bring focus, attention, and contemplation of the small moments in life. The Haiku Society of America has been publishing and promoting this magical form since 1968, with lectures, meetings, and public readings keeping the form vibrant and current.
The Nicholas A. Virgilio Memorial Haiku and Senryu Competition is named for one of the founding members of the HSA, and offers students from 7-12 grade the opportunity to enter their poems for a $100 prize. Entries should be made on three 3×5 index cards, with contact information on the back of just one card. Winning poems will be published in Frogpond, the HSA’s annual journal, and winners receive one year of free membership as well. It’s a fun way to add a few dollars to the college fund, and put a publication on your college applications.
North Dakota Indian Scholarships - North Dakota University System
North Dakota has one of the largest populations of Native Americans in the US – more than 30,000 people, around 5% of the population, descended from more than a dozen tribal groups. In recent years, the state has made efforts to reach the reservation population (more than 60% of North Dakota’s Indians), especially for the sake of education, as more than 40% of ND’s American Indians are under the age of 20. To help Native American young people make the most of their opportunity, the North Dakota University System offers the North Dakota Indian Scholarship.
The North Dakota Indian Scholarship provides $2000 for any student belonging to a federally recognized tribe who is enrolled in a North Dakota college or university. Students who have a passing GPA or 2.0 or more can qualify based on unmet financial need; students with a GPA of more than 3.5 can qualify based on merit. In either case, students need only apply and demonstrate tribal membership. The deadline for applications is July 15.
Ohio War Orphans Scholarship
The Ohio Department of Higher Education’s War Orphans Scholarship Board awards scholarships yearly to Ohio students who lost a parent, or whose parent was disabled, in a declared war or conflict. There are no requirements to apply to the scholarship beyond submitting an application and providing proof of your status as the child of an Ohio war veteran. There are no essays or GPA requirements, though students who are given the award must maintain a passing GPA in their college career to retain the scholarship.
The deadline for the Ohio War Orphans Scholarship Program is always May 15; applicants will be contacted by the board if they are eligible for the award. The War Orphans Scholarship pays for 90% tuition and fees at a public college or university in Ohio, and up to $6398 for students in a private Ohio university. The award covers 10 semesters of undergraduate schooling, as long as the student remains eligible, and students with a documented learning disability can keep their benefits for 20 semester. The Ohio War Orphans Scholarship is a way for Ohio to honor its veterans, and to give the children of the fallen a better shot at success.
Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship - Association of Certified Fraud Examiners
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners is the world’s largest professional association of auditors, accountants, and other fraud experts. Founded in 1988, the ACFE sets professional standards for fraud education and training, as well as providing valuable information to the public about fraud detection and prevention – including the ACFE Fraud Museum in Austin, TX. The ACFE also offers the Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship, named in honor of two fraud specialists who were tragically killed in a terrorist attack in Pakistan in 1997.
To apply for the ACFE Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship, students must be enrolled full-time in a college program related to fraud, including accounting, finance, or criminal justice. As the scholarship is intended to encourage and support students who will work in fraud examination, students must demonstrate an interest in fraud. While no essay or minimum GPA is required, students must submit two recommendations from employers or professors. Along with the scholarship, students receive a free year-long student membership in the ACFE.
SBO Scholarship Essay Contest Winners - School Band & Orchestra Magazine
School Band & Orchestra Magazine is a monthly publication for music educators, band and orchestra directors, and music school administrators. SBO has provided everything from reviews of new technology, instruments, and gear, to advice about improving practice and performance, since 1998. SBO’s website provides a community, directory, and resources for managers and directors, helping professionals stay in the know and in communication about developments in music education.
SBO also provides the annual SBO Scholarship Essay Contest, an opportunity for students from grades 4-12 to win money for their education, as well as scholarship funds and musical equipment for their music program. Students apply with a short answer to a prompt, such as how they would encourage classmates to join the music program. Several winners from two age groups – elementary/middle grades, and high school – win $1000 each, while their music program receives equipment from sponsors like Yamaha, Sabian, and Alfred. SBO has given away more than $300,000 worth of prizes.
Sallie Mae Scholarships
Sallie Mae is one of the most important names in higher education financing, but many people – even the thousands of students with Sallie Mae loans – may not know why. Established as a government-sponsored enterprise in 1972, the Student Loan Marketing Association (SLMA, hence “Sallie Mae”) was originally intended to process federal students loans, but the company became the publicly-traded, private SLM Corporation in 2004. Today, Sallie Mae is still the largest student loan lender in the nation.
In addition to originating and managing student loans Sallie Mae offers numerous scholarship opportunities in varying degrees of easiness. Some, like the $1000 College Planning Sweepstakes, only require a simple entry, a registration for Sallie Mae’s planning tools; others, like the Bridging the Dream Scholarship, require a little more investment, such as creatively sharing the story of their higher education journey. Entry requirements and awards vary, so students should look over Sallie Mae – and their helpful, free Scholarship Search – for details.
Scholarship Points - Edvisors
Established in 2006, Scholarship Points is a different way of giving away scholarship money to students throughout the US. Instead of writing essays or begging for recommendations, students join the Scholarship Points community by creating an account and login, and then qualify for scholarships by going about their usual online lives – answering surveys, reviewing ads, and other activities they would be doing for free anyway! Students earn points doing activities, which they can then spend to enter many different scholarship opportunities, ranging from $1000 to $10,000.
There are no particular requirements to join Scholarship Points, though individual contests and drawings may have particular parameters. Any student over the age of 13 is eligible to join. To join and begin earning points, students simply start and account and login. Students may be uploading text, images, video, audio, or other kinds of data, depending on the requirements of the scholarships they enter; students are responsible for the content of whatever they submit, so remember your Netiquette – don’t say or do anything online that you wouldn’t do in real life. There’s a wealth of opportunity from Scholarship Points, a whole new way to do scholarships.
Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest - Duck Brand
The Duck Brand “Stuck at Prom” Scholarship Contest requires no GPA, no essays, and no recommendation letters, but it’s not exactly easy – making a prom dress or tuxedo out of duct tape is an artistic and creative challenge not to be taken lightly. Winning this unique scholarship takes a designer’s eye and some serious crafting skills, and take a look through the gallery – these kids have some serious chops! From medieval fantasy themes to Art Deco cool, there’s no limit to what students can do when they put their mind to it. And really, what says “ready for college” more than that kind of creativity?
Some rules for the Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest have changed since previous contests; students no longer enter as couples, but in individual Tux and Dress categories. Other rules are pretty much the same: entering students cannot have any connection to the Duck Brand company, and, unfortunately, is not open to students in Maryland, Vermont, Colorado, or Quebec (desole, Quebecois). While the clothes entered in the contest can incorporate non-duct-tape elements, the dress or tuxedo must be made from Duck Tape brand duct tape. Original creations only, and past winners are not eligible.
Suntrust Off to College Scholarship Sweepstakes
Based in Atlanta, GA, Suntrust Bank is one of the nation’s largest banks and a major student loan lender. Suntrust dates back to 1891, and over the 20th century the bank grew aggressively, partly because of its relationship with Coca-Cola – including a large shareholder stake, and the protectors of the original copy of Coca-Cola’s formula. While they no longer own Coke shares, Suntrust is one of the most popular providers of mortgages, consumer loans, and student loans, and Suntrust returns some of that wealth in the form of monthly scholarship awards.
The Suntrust Off to College Scholarship Sweepstakes is open to any high school senior or college student, without any GPA or financial need requirement. Students can apply in each entry period, and two $500 winners are selected every two weeks throughout the year. There are some restrictions – only students east of the Mississippi are eligible, and must be students at accredited, Title IV-eligible colleges and universities. But it’s $500 toward your education, with virtually no effort from you.
Tall Scholarship Program - Tall Clubs International (TCI)
Tall Clubs International is an association of nearly 50 member clubs, all devoted to fun, community, and service for tall individuals. TCI was founded by Kae Sumner Enfeldt, a Disney animator whose amusing articles for the LA Times about life as a tall women (written under a pseudonym) led to the creation of the first tall club. Today, TCI has more than 1000 members and is committed to raising awareness of the difficulties of above-average people with a sense of humor and fun, including the annual Miss Tall International Pageant.
The Tall Clubs International Foundation provides scholarship opportunities for young people, offering numerous $1000 scholarships each year for members and their families. In addition to the international organization, many local Tall Clubs offer scholarships of their own; for requirements, students should contact their local tall club. Students under 21 years old and who meet the height requirement for memberships (5’10” for women, 6’2” for men) are eligible.
Teacher Shortage Employment Incentive Program - Oklahoma State Regents
The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education oversee all of Oklahoma’s 25 public colleges and universities, building the Sooner State’s college-educated professional workforce since 1941. Through the Regents’ leadership, Oklahoma has developed a top-notch higher education system, with two major public research universities and many regional and community colleges, serving nearly 300,000 students. The state system is a crucial part of providing opportunity for rural, minority, and disadvantaged students, including Oklahoma’s large American Indian population.
In recent years, Oklahoma has suffered an increasingly concerning shortage of qualified public school teachers – one of the worst in the US. To combat this growing crisis, the Oklahoma State Regents have established the Teacher Shortage Employment Incentive Program to encourage college students to become teachers. The TSEIP is not a scholarship, but a loan forgiveness and reimbursement program, covering all of a graduate’s eligible student loan debt after 5 years of service in an Oklahoma school. All loans, including consolidated and private loans, can be reimbursed.
Tupelo Elvis Fan Club Scholarship
Fact: Elvis Presley did not go to college. He did graduate from high school, and just two months later, walked into Sun Studios to become a star. That, of course, is the last anyone ever heard of Elvis Presley, but somehow, he still has a fan club in the town where he was born, Tupelo, MS, one with more than 500 international members. The Tupelo Elvis Fan Club is actively involved in charity work, especially in music-related charities (of course), carrying on Elvis’ name and legend through service to the community.
One such service is the TEFC Music Scholarship, a unique opportunity for musically gifted young people. Students all over the nation can enter the music scholarship, which is only concerned with one thing: not GPA, not recommendations, but pure talent. Applicants send a recording to the Tupelo Elvis Fan Club, which then sorts through the entries and selects 10 finalists who will perform at the fan club’s annual convention in April. One winner will be chosen to win $5000; applicants must perform live to win, however.
Unigo $10K Scholarship
Unigo is one of the most successful and most trusted online resources for college students, a company founded in 2008 to bring students and prospective students information, advice, reviews, and scholarships. In the last decade, Unigo has partnered with some of the top names in education information, including McGraw-Hill, U.S. News & World Report, and countless colleges and universities. Unigo has given away more than $500,000 in scholarships, and is just getting started.
Since 2014, Unigo’s $10K Scholarship alone has helped pay for more than $200,000 worth of education for college students all over the US. There are very few restrictions – no minimum GPA, no recommendations, no extracurricular activities – and just one very simple task to enter. Applicants have to write a short, 250-word essay on what a historical figure’s favorite app would be. It’s fun, creative, and perfect for the 21st century – open for anyone with the cleverness to stand out.
Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant Program - State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
Private colleges and universities are rarely cheap, but sometimes they’re the best choice for a student’s educational needs. For that reason, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia started the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant Program in 1972, providing students enrolled in qualified private colleges and universities meet their financial needs. Only qualified nonprofit institutions are eligible for the grant; otherwise, all of Virginia’s best-known and most reputable private colleges and universities are approved.
Funds for the VTAGP are provided by the Virginia General Assembly, and there are no requirements beyond being a Virginia resident and being enrolled in a recognized institution. There are specific amounts set aside for students at all education levels: $3300 annually for undergraduate students, and $1650 annually for graduate and professional school students. However, students studying religion or theology are not eligible (separation of church and state, don’t you know), and the only graduate programs eligible must be health related (such as medicine, nursing, or pharmacy).
Walmart Associate Scholarships
The world’s largest retailer, and the world’s largest private employer, Walmart is also the world’s largest family-owned company, and Walmart has done a lot to keep that “family” image going strong for more than 50 years. Walmart gives more than $1 billion to charitable causes each year, making the Walmart Foundation one of the largest corporate charities in the US. As part of that mission, the Walmart Foundation has always been a big supporter of scholarship programs, including partnerships with scholarships funds like the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the American Indian College Fund, and the Hispanic College Fund.
Walmart also sets aside scholarship opportunities just for their associates and their associate’s families: the Walmart Scholarship and the Walmart Dependent Scholarship. There are no barriers to applying for a Walmart scholarship, expect for the requirement of being a Walmart employee for at least 6 months, or the dependent of a Walmart employee. That’s right – any Walmart employee or their dependents can apply, so long as they have a high school diploma or GED and plan to enroll in a community college, college, or university. It’s just one more way Walmart helps.