25 bizarre or unusual scholarships
Many students go into debt for college, even though philanthropists and organizations are willing to give away billions every year.
This post comes from Brandon Ballenger at partner site Money Talks News.
When the average undergraduate student earns a degree at a four-year school, that graduate will need more than $22,000 to pay off student loan debt, says FinAid.org.
But just one source of college scholarships -- the free Fastweb scholarship database -- lists 1.5 million scholarships worth $3.4 billion. If all that money were used, it would be enough to pay off the entire debt of 150,000 students. Unfortunately, it's not.
Part of the reason some scholarships go untapped is that they are so weirdly specific that almost nobody qualifies. Watch the video below, then read on to learn about even more strange opportunities.
Everybody knows there are scholarships for minorities, for volunteerism and for writing essays, but how many people are lucky enough to be born to a Catholic family named Zolp? If you were, congrats: Your mere existence could entitle you to a free ride at Loyola Marymount University in Chicago.
Some of these scholarships are worth only $500 -- not enough to pay for even one class. But every bit counts, especially if the alternative is a high-interest student loan that will take years to pay off. Apply for everything you might qualify for, and there's no telling how much you might end up with:
- Surname scholarships. What's in a name? Money.Like the Zolp scholarship, the Scarpinato Scholarship gives you a full ride, but without the religious requirement. The name can come from birth or marriage, and it's valid at Texas A&M University. The name Gatling will grant you $9,000 to $18,000 at North Carolina State. Van Valkenburg and variants can net you $1,000 good anywhere, and several names can put you in the good graces of Harvard, including Baxendale, Hudson, and Bright.
- Short and tall people scholarships. Little People of America gives out annual scholarships of up to $1,000 to those under 4 foot 10 or members of their families. If none apply, the award may also go to anyone with a disability or someone with financial need. The Billy Barton Foundation has a similar scholarship. Tall Clubs International has a similar scholarship for women over 5 foot 10 and men over 6-2.
- Klingon scholarships. The Klingon Language Institute not only exists, but gives out $500 a year to language students who don't even need "familiarity with Klingon or other constructed languages." More Trekkie scholarships are out there too. You can even win a $5,000 scholarship for writing about elves -- or drawing them.
- Tasty scholarships. Getting the $5,000 American Association of Candy Technologists scholarship is like taking candy from a baby -- or maybe a robot. You need a "demonstrated interest in confectionery technology" along with a decent GPA and at least sophomore status. And beef is not just for dinner; it's also for class: The National Beef Ambassador Program awards up to $2,500 if you can give great speeches about the merits of cows. A debate with the winners of the $5,000 Vegetarian Resource Group scholarship is not required. Budding wine connoisseur? Junior-level science majors with no gripes about grapes can go after the American Society for Enology and Viticulture scholarship. Heck, you can even win $25,000 for making a peanut butter sandwich -- jelly optional.
- Religious scholarships. Take a vow of poverty and, ironically enough, you could win the Monastic Scholarship at Naropa University. Studying American Buddhism at that school could also get you a $2,500 Frederick P. Lenz scholarship. Pagans aren't left out either: The Carolina Spirit Quest scholarship is worth $500 for such students who live in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, or Washington, D.C. Hindu students studying business can win up to $10,000 with the Rattan L. Khosa scholarship at the University of Chicago.
- Doing-weird-things scholarships. That's an awfully broad category, but where else are we going to mention $25,000 scholarships for people who dance for a living or $5,000 scholarships for people who wear Duck tape to the prom? What about scholarships for people who compete in national marbles contests? There are $7,500 scholarships for students who drink milk while playing sports, and the Gertrude J. Steppen scholarship for students who don't drink and don't play sports. There's a scholarship for chaste North Carolina girls who live on campus without a car and have no other financial aid. And one that Stacy Johnson mentioned in the video -- a $2,000 scholarship for those with a talent for duck calling.
The bottom line? There's a scholarship opportunity for everyone, so don't assume you can't find one. Apply whenever you meet the basic criteria or even come close. Many scholarships have an order of preference, and if nobody else applies you may win by default.
More on Money Talks News and MSN Money:
America no longer cares about our children and their well being. Sure all the politicians articulate these needs during their campaigns but once in office seem to ignore or have selective memory lose. The US deficit has burdened all legitimate tax paying people approximately $45,000 per person with their mismanagement of funds. Now any average kid/family who sends their kid to college has just added to their financial burden. I send my kids to college not so much that it's a guaranteed six figure job at the end of the journey. Nope, I send them because their is no meaningful jobs to be had and I want to keep their minds occupied on something constructive rather than focusing on how corrupt America has become. Call it a waste of money? It's my money and I'll do with it what I want to. I call it responsible parenting.
In God I trust, who else is there?
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