11 Private Scholarships to Help You Pay for College
There’s no shortage of options to help you trim the college tab.
Roughly 2 out of 3 undergrads use grants and scholarships to help them pay for college, according to the most recent federal data. But finding the best options can be a daunting task.
Websites like Fastweb and Cappex allow you to create a free profile, research what’s available and end up with personalized matches based on a variety of criteria, such as ethnicity, location, activities, academic interests and honors. Scholly, another scholarship matching system accessible on the web or through a mobile app, allows users to see choices, track deadlines and follow the status of their submissions for a $2.99 monthly fee.
Through such platforms, applicants and students might find some ultraspecific awards that they might qualify for, such as the Travers Tool Metalworking Student Scholarship or the BMI Foundation’s John Lennon Scholarships for undergrad songwriters and composers of contemporary music.
The U.S. Department of Education also offers a range of resources for exploring grants from a variety of sources, including all 50 states and federal agencies like the Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services.
It’s also a good idea to check with individual colleges to see what awards they might have available and whether they require an extra application.
Whether you’re looking for a scholarship based on your background, academic credentials, potential major(s) or other attributes, here’s a sampling of possibilities to consider.
The Gates Scholarship. Awarded to 300 minority high school seniors every year who exhibit strong leadership skills and academic records and who demonstrate great financial need. Funds cover the remaining cost of attendance after expected family contribution and other awards.
National Merit Scholarship Program. Approximately 7,500 high school seniors a year receive some level of an award based on PSAT/NMSQT scores and other criteria.
Coca-Cola Scholars Program. Each year, scholarships of $20,000 per person are awarded to 150 students based on their academic merits, leadership skills and service. Smaller awards are also available.
Other major corporations with scholarship options include Microsoft, Burger King and Dunkin’ Donuts.
Society of Women Engineers Scholarships. A range of awards are given to support women interested in careers in engineering, computer science and engineering technology.
Google Scholarships. Google offers a variety of specific scholarships for women, underrepresented minority students and those with disabilities looking to study computer science.
Dell Scholars Program. Recipients get $20,000, a laptop and credits for textbooks. The award is directed toward low-income students who have overcome challenges and “are better than their numbers indicate,” according to the scholarship foundation’s website.
UNCF Scholarships. More than 10,000 African-American students receive some form of aid each year through several scholarship options, such as those for people pursuing the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math – or aspiring entrepreneurs.
Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student Scholarship. Four-year scholarships are awarded to 500 high school seniors based on academics, leadership and financial need. Most receive $4,000 each, while 20 finalists receive between $20,000 and $50,000 total.
Boren Scholarships. Students planning to pursue a job in national security and study what the National Security Education Program refers to as a “less commonly taught” language, such as Arabic, Swahili or Hebrew, are awarded $8,000 to $20,000 to study abroad for a summer, semester or six- to 12-month stint.
Cooke College Scholarship Program. Scholarships of up to $40,000 per year are awarded to high-achieving high school students with financial need as selected by the education-focused Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.
James Beard Foundation National Scholars Program. Ten candidates receive $20,000 apiece to pursue a variety of food-related subjects, such as culinary arts, agriculture and sustainability. Other smaller awards are also available.
Source: Alison Murtagh, US News, Sept. 20, 2018.