Scholarships are one of the best forms of financial aid. We’ve included this section to introduce you to some of the best major scholarships available today. Some of these programs are in here because they’re extremely generous. Some of them pay everything a student needs for all four years of college, or toward a graduate degree, even living expenses and allowances. Some include the costs of studying in other countries, including air fare. Other programs are listed in here because they provide millions of dollars in scholarships distributed to hundreds or thousands of students all across the country. Some of these are undergraduate scholarships, others are for grad school. Some are for members of minority groups. Many are need based, but some are awarded strictly on merit, without regard for the student’s financial situation. These are truly some of America’s best major scholarships. Take a look for yourself, and you’ll see just how committed this country is to seeing that its young people get college educations. And if you see one here that you think you qualify for, go for it! Every one of these major scholarships will be awarded to somebody; it might as well be you. Good luck!
Coca Cola Scholarships
Established in 1986, The Coca Cola Scholars Foundation awards over three million dollars a year in scholarships for high school seniors . Students from all public and private high schools in the US are eligible to apply, all scholarships are paid out over four years. The Coca Cola Scholarships are not based on financial need. Students are evaluated in four areas-leadership, community service, academic achievement, and employment (although lack of an employment history doesn’t disqualify a student).
The Coca Cola Scholar Foundation also has a separate scholarship program for students attending two year colleges. These awards are for $1000, and you must be nominated by the college. For more information on both these programs, go to www.coca-colascholars.org.
National Merit Scholarship
If you’re a high school junior planning on attending college, you should make arrangements to take the Preliminary SAT/Nation Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQ). This test is given on a nationwide basis to over a million high school juniors, and the 50,000 students with the top scores are automatically entered into consideration for several different kinds of scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. 8200 of them will be awarded scholarships after several steps in a selection process. Many of the scholarships are in the amount of $2500, but there are several different kinds, and one of them is a program where many colleges give full scholarships to National Merit Scholarship Finalists who designate the college as their first choice. Financial need is not a consideration. Altogether, National Merit Scholarship winners will receive over 33 million dollars in aid this year. To learn more about the program, and how to apply, go to www.nationalmerit.org
Did you know there are even scholarships for people who’ve already earned a PhD degree? It’s true. The Fulbright Scholars Program was created in 1946, after Senator J. William Fulbright suggested that the US government sponsor scholarships for Americans to lecture and do research in foreign countries, in order to “promote mutual understanding between the people of America and the people of other countries”. These days, the Fulbright Program awards well over 100 million dollars a year to send both Americans abroad, and to bring foreign scholars to this country. As many as 800 Americans a year are selected to be sent all over the globe in any number of projects. The Fulbright awards come with very generous stipends, and winners are often able to bring their families along to experience several months in a different country and culture. As you can imagine, the competition for Fulbright Scholarships is very stiff, and the process is very selective, but if you’ve got a PhD and the idea of spending time abroad learning and teaching intrigues you, you can get more information at www.cies.org
Florida Bright Future Scholarship
Are you a high school senior in Florida? If so, depending on your grade point average and other factors, you may be eligible for free tuition for all four years at a Florida college or university. The Florida Bright Future Scholarship program is funded by lottery proceeds, and is intended to encourage Florida high school seniors to get a college degree at one of Florida’s many public and private colleges and universities. Depending on your grades, your test scores, and your record of community service, if you attend a Florida public university, the state will give you a Florida Academic Scholar Award and pay all of your tuition, plus $300 a semester in lab fees, and $300 a semester for various expenses.
If you don’t qualify for that, there are other awards available-the Florida Medallion Scholar Award pays for 75% of tuition at a public institution, and up to $300 per semester in lab fees. Should you prefer to attend a private Florida university, you’ll receive either 100% or 75% of the average tuition for a public college, depending on which program you’re in. This is an excellent opportunity to acquire a college education at very little cost! To learn more, go to http://www.firn.edu
Wal-Mart has scholarships? Yes, not only can you find almost everything you need for your everyday life at Wal-Mart, but the world’s largest retailer also awards millions and millions of dollars in scholarships every year, and the amount is growing all the time. Sam Walton, the late founder of the Wal-Mart chain, believed in giving back to the community. The Walton family has continued Sam’s legacy of philanthropy, and now awards over 45 million dollars in scholarships to American college students every year.
And these scholarships are not only for Wal-Mart employees. Wal-Mart and the Walton family certainly do fund lots of scholarships for Wal-Mart associates, and sons and daughters of associates, but in addition, they also provide Sam Walton Community scholarships for the general public who aren’t employed by their stores. These scholarships are in the amount of one thousand dollars, and are available to high school seniors who don’t work at Wal-Mart, and aren’t immediate family to anyone who does. GED holders are also eligible in some cases. You must be a US citizen, or have had permanent legal resident status for at least one year. The scholarship does require a grade point average of at least 2.5, and applicants must have taken either the SAT or the ACT. And financial need must be demonstrated to be eligible for a Sam Walton Community Scholarship.
For Wal-Mart employees, the company has even more generous scholarships available. If you’re a Wal-Mart associate who’s a high school senior (or in some cases a GED holder), and you’ve worked for the company for at least a year by the application deadline of January 20, you should consider applying for the Wal-Mart Associate Scholarship, which is for $2000 per year. Financial need must be demonstrated, and you must score at least an 18 on the ACT, or 800 on the SAT.
Another program for Wal-Mart associates is the Higher Reach Scholarship. This is for Wal-Mart employees who have graduated from high school more than a year ago, and is targeted toward older students. GED holders are also eligible in some cases. Again, you must have been employed there at least one year by the application deadline, and you must be able to demonstrate financial need. There is no GPA requirement, but you must have met or exceeded expectations on your most recent employee evaluation. This program has gotten even better-until recently, the Higher Reach Scholarship could only be applied toward undergraduate study at a college or university, but you may now use it to pursue graduate study, or technical skills at accredited institutions. And at $2000 per year, this award could go a long way toward paying for your education.
Finally, for sons and daughters of full-time Wal-Mart employees, there’s the Walton Family Foundation Scholarship. One hundred and fifty of these are awarded annually, and they’re for $10,000 spread over four years. They’re intended for high school seniors, or GED holders, and applicants must show financial need, and have earned a 22 on the ACT or 1030 on the SAT.To learn more about the tens of millions of scholarship dollars provided by Wal-Mart, and information on how to apply, visit http://www.walmartfoundation.org
What is the most prestigious scholarship in the entire world? Almost everyone would say, hands down, the Rhodes Scholarship. This coveted post graduate scholarship has been awarded to thousands of Americans over the years since 1902, including many who went on to become writers and artists, and leaders of government and industry. Past winners include Supreme Court Justice David Souter, presidential adviser and news show host George Stephanopoulos, and actor/musician Kris Kristofferson. Cecil Rhodes was a Briton who bequeathed the bulk of his wealth to be used for furthering the education of young people in Britain’s former colonies. All Rhodes Scholars, as the winners of the scholarships are known, study at Oxford University, the oldest and most prestigious university in England.The Rhodes Scholarships are very generous, paying for tuition, room and board, books, living expenses, and an allowance, for two full years of graduate study at Oxford University. Winners are selected on the basis of intellectual ability, physical ability, moral character, and leadership potential. While many Rhodes Scholars have been college athletes, that level of athletic skill is not an absolute requirement-only that you be in excellent physical shape and have demonstrated some success at a sport.The competition for Rhodes Scholarships is fierce, and the standards are very selective. Only around 30 scholarships are awarded to American each year. But the rewards are high, and being known as a Rhodes Scholar for the rest of your life is an extremely rare honor. If you’re an excellent student with good character, athletic talent, and leadership ability, and you’re interested in doing post graduate study at Oxford University, you should certainly consider applying for a Rhodes Scholarship. You can find out much more about the qualities the Rhodes Trust is looking for, and the application procedures, at http://www.rhodesscholar.org/
We’re all familiar with Target stores, and their colorful advertising. But did you know that Target is one of America’s biggest scholarship providers? It’s true-Target awards six hundred $1000 scholarships, and one $25,000 scholarship, every year. They’re trying to encourage and reward community service and volunteerism, so those two things play a big factor in selecting recipients. Target looks at total hours volunteered, leadership roles played in the community and volunteer groups when awarding the scholarships. An essay on volunteering is required as part of the application. And don’t worry if your grades aren’t that hot-the minimum grade point average required is 2.0, or a C. This is an excellent opportunity for students all over America-Target employees and family members of employees are not eligible for the Target All-Around Scholarships, but pretty much anyone else age 24 and under is eligible. So if you’ve volunteered in your community in the past, you should certainly consider applying for the Target All-Around Scholarship. You can find out how to apply, and read all the rules and requirements at http://target.com/
Bill Gates Scholarships
You may have heard that Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, provides college scholarships. He certainly does-to the tune of $50 million a year. He administers them through the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, and you can find out more about them in our section on Gates Millennium Scholarships.
Georgia Hope Scholarships
Are you a legal resident of the state of Georgia? If so, then you’re in luck, because Georgia has a very generous program to encourage Georgians to acquire a college degree or technical certificate. It’s called Helping Outstanding Students Educationally, or the HOPE program, and it’s one of the best financial aid packages offered by any state,. There are two kinds of aid-HOPE grants, and HOPE scholarships.HOPE grants are for Georgia residents attending technical schools offering certificates or two year diplomas within Georgia. There is no grade point average requirement, and you can even attend part time, as long as you’re making satisfactory academic progress. The grant covers tuition, most mandatory fees, and provides a $100 book allowance every quarter.HOPE scholarships are for Georgia residents enrolled in four year colleges and universities within Georgia. If you’ve graduated from a Georgia high school, since 1993, and had a 3.0 grade point average, you’re eligible for a HOPE scholarship for all four years of college. For persons who graduated from a Georgia high school prior to 1993, the rules are little different. Basically, you’re not eligible your first year of college, but once you’ve maintained a 3.0 GPA in the first quarter after your first 45 credit hours, you’re eligible. And you can’t already possess a four year degree, or have 190 or more quarter hours of previous college credit. The HOPE scholarship, for both recent and older high school graduates is just as generous as the HOPE grant, covering tuition, most mandatory fees, and a $100 book allowance each quarter. And, like the grant, you don’t have to be enrolled full time to take advantage of the scholarship. And as long as you’re making satisfactory academic progress, and maintain a 3.0 GPA, the scholarship can be renewed every year. But you do have to reapply every year. To learn more about the HOPE grants and scholarships, and how to apply, visit their website: http://www.gsfc.org/HOPE
Gates Millennium Scholarships
“The best and the brightest students shouldn’t be denied access to higher education simply because they can’t afford it.” -Bill Gates. Bill Gates is the founder of Microsoft Corporation, and one of the world’s richest men. He and his wife created the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fund worthwhile projects for those in need, both here in America and around the world. One of their main projects is the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, which provides one billion dollars in financial assistance to disadvantaged minority students in America who need help to earn a college education. The GMSP is primarily administered by the United Negro College Fund, although members of all minority groups, not just African-Americans, are eligible to apply. Other administering organizations are the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the American Indian Graduate Center Scholars, and the Organization of Chinese American.
The Millennium Scholarship is very generous, providing tuition for all four years of college. In addition, recipients of Millennium Scholarships who’ve graduated can apply for further financial assistance from GMSP to pursue graduate degrees in the fields of education, library science, math, science, and engineering. One thousand students a year are chosen for these coveted scholarships. The basic criteria for eligibility are that the student must be a US citizen, or a legal permanent residence, with a 3.3 grade point average or better, and must meet federal Pell Grant requirements for financial aid, with a strong record of community service and/or extra-curricular activities. You’ll need someone to nominate you, and also someone to use as a reference. You can find out more, and how to apply, at the GMSP website: www.gmsp.org
Are you interested in a career in health care? Then consider applying for a Tylenol Scholarship. Tylenol, the maker of popular pain reliever, wants to encourage students interested in studying for health related careers. Tylenol gives out ten $10,000 scholarships, and 150 $1000 scholarships. Financial need is not a consideration, and applicants are judged bases on their academic achievements and their leadership abilities. For more information and instructions for applying, go to www.tylenol.com
Horatio Alger Scholarships
The Horatio Alger Foundation is an excellent source of college scholarships. As of this year, they award over 1100 scholarships to students in sixteen states, with seven more states scheduled to begin taking part in 2006. 2005 participating states are Pennsylvania, Delaware, Washington DC its metro Virginia and Maryland communities, Indiana, Kentucky, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Idaho, and California.The majority of scholarships are in the amount of $2500, but some of them are for higher amounts, including $7000 in the state of Louisiana. Louisiana, Idaho, Iowa and Montana have restrictions on which colleges you may use the scholarship at- usually in their own state- but the other states do not.The Horatio Alger Foundation is named after the famed 19th century novelist whose books told the stories of young boys overcoming poverty and adversity by hard work and determination. The foundation wants to foster these qualities, so the scholarships are awarded to students who have a financial need, and have overcome personal hardships of one sort or another. Applicants must be a high school senior, have a 2.0 grade point average or higher, be involved in community activities, and come from families that make less than $50,000 a year. Homeschoolers are welcome to apply. For more information on the Horatio Alger Scholarships and how to apply, visit their website at www.horatioalger.com.
Are you a public spirited undergraduate student who’d like to positively impact your community, your country, and the world by working in government, education, a public interest group, or non profit organization? If so, you should definitely consider applying for a Harry S. Truman Scholarship. Truman Scholarships provide up to $30,000 toward a graduate degree such as a law degree, a doctorate, or masters degrees in such fields as Public Policy, Public Health, Education, Social Work, and International Affairs.Seventy Truman Scholarships are awarded every year, and are only open to college juniors or third year seniors. Persons who have already earned a college degree are not eligible. Anyone awarded a scholarship must agree to spend three of their first seven years after obtaining their graduate degree working in some field of public service, or will be required to pay the scholarship back. The Truman Scholarship Foundation is looking for applicants who’ve shown an interest and aptitude for public service in several ways:Achieved high grades in a rigorous academic program Participated in student government and other college activities Taken part in community service and volunteer activities Demonstrated their leadership potential. Read widely on a variety of topics. Have identified a social concern or problem Taken courses related to the public interest career Taken part in one or more political campaigns.If you possess these qualities, and you’re interested in obtaining a graduate degree toward a career in public service, you should by all means apply for a Truman Scholarship. The award not only provides $30,000 toward a degree, but recipients also receive assistance with career counseling, internship placement, graduate school admissions, and professional development. Truman Scholars are also invited to participate in exclusive programs such as Truman Scholar Leadership Week, The Summer Institute, The Truman Fellows Program, and the Public Service Law Conference.The application deadline is in February of your junior year, and all finalists will undergo a rigorous interview before final selections are made. It’s a great honor to be chosen for a Truman Scholarship, and many Truman Scholars go on to work in elite institutions working for change in America and the world. You can read more about the scholarships and how to apply at their website: www.truman.gov.
Are you a college senior, or a recent college undergraduate, interested in pursuing a graduate degree in the United Kingdom? If so, then you should definitely look into applying for a Marshall Scholarship, which is open to American citizens, with a bachelor’s degree from an American college or university awarded after April 2003, and at least a 3.7 grade point average, who have never studied in the UK. The Marshall Scholarship was created in 1953 by the British government as a way of saying thanks to the people of the United States for their generosity in funding the Marshall Program, which helped rebuild Europe after the devastation of the second World War. As of this writing, forty scholarships are awarded every year, in the amount of approximately twenty thousand British pounds (around $34,000) each. They cover tuition, room and board, living expenses, books, fees associated with writing a thesis, and airfare from and to the United States.
The scholarships may be used for pursuing a graduate degree at well over one hundred universities and art schools in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, including such prestigious institutions as the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, London, and Edinburgh. One factor to consider when applying is that, because of the desirability and prestige of studying at Oxford, London, and Cambridge, applicants selecting other colleges and universities as their first choice will almost certainly improve their chances of being awarded a scholarship. Applications are only accepted online, and the cutoff date is usually early October of your senior undergraduate year. You can find out all about the Marshall Scholarship, and how to apply, at their website: http://www.marshallscholarship.org/
The John Motley Morehead Foundation provided scholarships for outstanding high school students to enable them to create “extraordinary lives”. And that’s exactly what Morehead Scholars do. Students selected receive a four year scholarship to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. No ordinary scholarship, a Morehead scholarship covers tuition, room and board, a laptop computer, books, fees, travel, laundry, supplies, and spending money for all four years of their undergraduate education.One of the most important benefits of this extremely generous scholarship is the annual Summer Enrichment Program, again fully funded, which gives Morehead Scholars a wide range of choices for training their bodies and minds, and expanding their intellectual and personal horizons, and exploring career options in depth. The freshman year Summer Enrichment Program is held the summer before the student enters college, and helps prepare students for the challenges of college by enabling them to overcome obstacles, learn to be part of a team, and build extraordinary self confidence. Students can choose from over fifty outdoors programs all over America, including mountaineering, kayaking, canoeing, backpacking, and many, many more. The sophomore SEP enables students to give back to their community and the world by spending eight to ten weeks performing public services for the less fortunate, all across the globe, in their choice of a multitude of projects. The junior year SEP lets students combine their academic studies with their personal interest to design a summer long project that sends them all over the world exploring new cultures and following their own dreams. The senior year SEP is an internship with some of America’s top companies or non profit organizations, and includes personal mentoring by top executives.
The Morehead Scholarship is truly a one of a kind, world class opportunity for college students to gain an extraordinary education, experience new cultures and world travel, and learn to become leaders, all without spending a penny of their own money. Morehead Scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit, not financial need, and, as you might expect, the Morehead Foundation is highly selective when awarding these scholarships.Who may apply? Any North Carolina high school student is eligible, and may be nominated by your school or you may apply directly. Students from selected high schools in thirty eight other states, and the District of Columbia, are also eligible to apply. You can find a list of eligible schools at www.moreheadfoundation.org. Successful applicants will have a record of high academic achievement, combined with an outstanding record of community service. To learn more about The Morehead Scholarship, and how to apply, see their website at http://www.moreheadfoundation.org