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by Susan Dutca

Beginning this fall, Northwestern University will offer grant and scholarships to combat student debt for qualifying students. As is the case with many colleges and universities, Northwestern's tuition hikes over the past several years have not helped the issue of crippling student debt. Based on their endowment and continued contributions from alums, it would certainly seem that Northwestern could offer considerably more financial assistance than they are at present. While Northwestern is about to start offering more free money to incoming students, capping the potential loans at $20K, we believe there is a solution to keep students from burying themselves in student loan debt: scholarships.

It took six years of student organizing and meeting with administrators to begin the process of reviewing and changing the financial aid policy to a no-loan program that grants 100 percent coverage of student financial aid; implements a cap for loans on current students whose debt is at $20,000; and offers full university financial aid for undocumented students. Students who reach $20,000 in loans will have additional aid covered in grants, but there's a catch. If you are at $30,000, you're not getting a check, according to Northwestern Vice President of Media Relations, Alan Cubbage. The new program will start 10 new initiatives for both undergraduate and graduate students, with a special emphasis on undocumented students who graduate from U.S. high schools, low-income, and first-generation students, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

You probably turn to your favorite food chains to satisfy your hunger and thirst, but now you can help reduce your college tuition burden with scholarships offered by some of the most well-known and popular Food & Beverage Companies. Many of these sponsored scholarships are listed on Forbes and Fortune 500's Top Food & Beverage Companies, so you know they will offer prestigious and large-dollar scholarships. Scholarships range from $1,000 to full tuition, so be sure to check your eligibility when applying - though some are exclusive to company employees, many simply require you to show a desire to continue your post-secondary education. To learn more about these scholarships and many others, create a FREE profile and see what scholarships for which you may qualify:

Dunkin' Donuts Scholarships

Dunk into this scholarship opportunity if you are a senior attending high school in one of the designated areas in the U.S. that offers the Dunkin' Donuts Scholarship and have exceptional academic merit and community service. As one of America's favorite all-day stop for coffee and baked goods, the chain is offering $1,000 scholarships to help qualifying applicants pay for college. You must be a resident from one of the listed areas to apply: Rhode Island or Bristol County, MA; Connecticut or Western MA; the Greater Philadelphia Region; New Hampshire; Palm Beach (Treasure Coast area), the Greater Miami,(Fort Lauderdale area), or the Greater FL Myers (Naples area). Please check your eligibility at the scholarship provider’s website.

Panera Bread Operation Dough Nation Scholarship

Scholarships fresh out of Panera Bread - a company listed as one of Fortune 500's Biggest Food & Beverage Companies. Not only do they value clean, good eating, but they also value an all-around healthy lifestyle, rewarded student-athletes for their commitment to sports and academics by providing financial assistance for college. One male and one female student-athlete from the WPIAL District win the Panera Bread Scholarship, amounted at $5,000 for each winner.

Taco Bell Live Más Scholarship

Live more and now, earn more! With the Taco Bell Live Más Scholarship, 220 college-bound students who plan on being one of the next generation of innovators, creators, and dreamers are eligible to win up to $25,000 in scholarship money. Applicants must create and submit a video telling the story of their life's passion, and demonstrate innovation and creativity.

Denny's Hungry for Education Foundation Scholarship

Denny's doesn't only serve food to late night breakfast lover's looking to squeeze in an extra meal, they also believe in fighting childhood hunger. Denny's offers scholarships to students who also believe in this endeavor, and must explain in a 300-500 word essay on how Denny's can positively impact childhood hunger in their communities. Scholarship categories are broken up by age: K-12, high school, and college and students must have a minimum 2.5 GPA. To see specific eligibility requirements for each HFE partner, please visit the scholarship provider's website.

Independent Hardee's Franchisee Association Scholarship

Hardee's believes in living the premium life with premium burgers, and if you are an IHFA employee planning to enroll or already enrolled in college, you can earn a premium scholarship worth $1,000. Financial need is not required to be eligible. Instead, recipients are selected based on their academics, demonstrated leadership, and participation in activities, community service, honors, work experience, goals and aspirations, unusual personal or family circumstances, and outside appraisal.

Papa John's Pizza "A Better Slice of Education" Scholarship

Papa John's believes that the more you put in, the more you get out. For stellar seniors attending CCSD high schools, having a high 3.8 GPA and investing more 50 hours or more in community service can land you a $1,000 scholarship for college. On top of having outstanding academic merit, students eligible to apply must write a 250-word essay answering the age-old question: "Why is education important to you?"

Burger King Scholarships

Burger King's motto, "Have it Your Way" is not just food-inclusive. This includes scholarships as well. The Burger King Scholars Program has awarded over $25 million in scholarships in 2015 alone. Scholarships vary from $1,000 to $50,000 to students who have a a minimum 2.0 GPA, who are passionate about serving their community, and are Burger King employees or children of employees. The James W. McLamore WHOPPER Scholarship awards $50,000 to deserving students who have a minimum 3.3 GPA, a minimum ACT score of 25 or a combined SAT score of 1700.

Starbucks College Achievement Plan

This is not your ordinary scholarship. If you are a partner or employee of Starbucks, or if you're interested in joining the Starbucks team), and are also interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree, you can qualify for the Starbucks Achievement Plan. Starbucks has teamed up with Arizona State University, so employees and partners across the country can receive their Bachelor's from Arizona State University at little to no cost. Qualifying participants receive an automatic 42% CAP scholarship applied toward their tuition costs and are reimbursed for tuition expenses at the end of each semester. For full details on how the program works, please visit the provider's website.

Chobani Scholarship

Chobani is known for its all-natural, non-GMO Greek yogurt and now offers a scholarship to one food-loving student who has demonstrated an interest in communications and is currently enrolled or plans to enroll in a culinary school. The $5,000 scholarship is available for both undergraduate and graduate students who are permanent residents of NY, NJ, CT, or PA.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

Do you ever feel like your unique, even weird and unusual talents and interests go unnoticed? Although academic, athletic, and merit-based scholarships are some of the most prevalent and abundant scholarships out there, there are colleges, universities, and organizations dedicated to rewarding quirky scholarships. The pool of students who have these attributes or skills is smaller than others, which means if you qualify, you have higher chances at winning the scholarship. Whereas academic and merit-based scholarships may require a certain GPA or class rank, these scholarships have unique eligibility requirements. Check out our list of unique, weird, and unusual scholarships below and see if you qualify by creating a profile:

Scholarships Calling Out your Name

There are few times in life where you can earn cash for your last name. If you happen to be a Catholic with the last name Zolp, you qualify for a scholarship from Loyola University Chicago. If you're one of the bright students planning to attend Harvard and have the last name Thayer, Downer, Bright, Hudson, or Baxendale, you may qualify for one of their named-based scholarships. Do you happen to have the last name Leavenworth and are currently or plan to attend Hamilton College? You may qualify for their Leavenworth Scholarship. Lastly, if you have the last name Gatlin or Gatling and plan to attend North Carolina State University, you may be eligible to win $60,000 in scholarships throughout your college career.

Creativity is Intelligence Having Fun

While there are plenty of scholarships looking for students interested in STEM fields, some students are more creative than those interested in STEM fields. Whether you love to write creative stories or poetry, there are prestigious organizations such as the National Student Poets Program that offer scholarships to bright young poets. If you have a knack for writing short stories or novelettes of science fiction or fantasy, Writers of the Future Contest, sponsored by the founder of Scientology, awards $5,000 to the top writer.

Body-Rewarding Scholarships

Being left-handed has more benefits than you think. For example, left-handed students attending or planning to attend Juniata College qualify for a special scholarship only for lefties. The scholarship was founded by a left-handed alumni tennis duo. Gingers deserve some love too. The Scholarship for Redheads offers a scholarship just for redheaded beauties. And since people come in different shapes and sizes, there are specific scholarships for tall and short people.

Get Paid to Play

Your parents may have told you that video games is a mind-numbing activity that will never help you with your education. Columbia College thinks differently. Their program awards skilled League of Legends players and recruit two teams of five players - they expect to participate in the Collegiate Star League (CSL) in the near future, which has awarded more than $250,000 in scholarships to collegiate champions. Similarly, New York University offers scholarships to students who study game design and show active participation in the fighting game community.

Students Got (Weird) Talent

Being bi-lingual, tri-lingual, or multi-lingual is always a plus on a scholarship application. Being able to call ducks can be worth $2,000. The Chick & Sophie Major Memorial Scholarship Duck Calling Contest awards high school students who have duck-calling capabilities. You have 90 seconds to use four calls: hail, feed, comeback, and mating. Put your quack to good use and apply for the scholarship.

Objects Matter, too

If you have a sweet tooth or general love for candy, the National Candy Technologists offer up to $5,000 for those pursuing a study in culinary science, food science, chemical science, or a related area. Or perhaps you have a knowledge of fire sprinklers or a knack for creating attire completely out of duct tape. Even if you are one of the few people interested in vacuum coating technology, there is a scholarship worth up to $10,000. Look to your unusual talents, skills, or interests for extra scholarship money, because there is bound to be an organization out there to reward you for being you.

And remember, there’s no need to rely on expensive student loan options to pay for your college education. For more information on finding free scholarship money for college, conduct a Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

Student loans made the list for the Top 10 Consumer Scams in Illinois, ranking 7th with 1,500 of the 25,094 complaints that are seen by Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office. As if the 40 million Americans who hold $1.2 trillion in debt wasn't bad enough, student loan scams joined the list of scams including abusive debt collection practices, mortgage lending, and payday loans, according to Gail MarksJarvis.

Most people know that one of the top consumers scams out there is identity theft. What's not as well-known is the large number of students who fall victim to student loan scams. Though they may be promised debt relief by making upfront payments of hundreds of dollars, with no relief to ever come, according to MarksJarvis. The scammers who once defrauded people with mortgage relief scams, according to MarksJarvis, now ventured into new territory: student loans. Madigan has targeted one of the scamming businesses based in Lombard, National Student Loan Rescue, and filed suit against them on Monday. They reportedly "advertised it would get student loans out of default, remove wage garnishments, lower monthly payments and secure loan forgiveness, but didn't deliver after accepting upfront fees."

What happens when government, income-based repayment programs aren't doing enough to help students with their debt? Borrowers turn to alternate options and fall victim to scam artists. Madigan blames the inefficient of such federal loan services for "keeping people in debt" and disabling them from contributing to the economy through purchases such as car-buying. Furthermore, she criticizes the quick relief forbearance which provides temporal relief with added interest charges to be paid later. This only perpetuates the cycle of debt, according to Madigan.

To "relieve" student loans, private companies are actually just filing paperwork to consolidate borrower's federal loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan. That means they're charging more than $1,000 for services that the Department pf Education offers free of charge. Some fraudulent businesses will advertise on the radio, using titles such as "federal" or "national," even though they are private businesses. If they promise to relieve student debt outright or get you out of default, they're most likely scamming you. If it seems too good to be true, it most likely is. For the complete list of top Illinois scam complaints, as well as options for helping borrowers on repayment options, read here.

Word of advice from Madigan: borrowers should never have to pay for information on paying back loans. A way to spot scams is "noting requests for upfront payments." Likewise at Scholarships.com., where we believe that no scholarship search or scholarship should ever cost a penny, as those are only the practices of sharks and scammers when it comes to the business of awarding money, not taking it.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

Applying for scholarships can sometimes be dull, tiring, and time-consuming, especially if you're short on time. Of course winning a scholarship is always worth it. But for students who are pressed on time or seeking rewards for past accomplishments, current talents, and passionate interests, easy scholarships are a practical choice. Don't go mad this March with scholarship applications if you don't have the time or desire - simply check out these easy scholarship and begin applying today. Don't forget that the seemingly "too easy" scholarships may be scams, as well as scholarship searches that require a fee. Never pay for a scholarship or scholarship search - scholarship providers are in the business of giving money, not taking it. Avoid long, tedious application processes by simply completing a user profile that will already narrow down what scholarships you qualify for. After using our free scholarship, you might even decide that any scholarships you find on Scholarships.com are going to be easy to win.

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Register & Win $500 Scholarship

Deadline: Monthly
Available to: Scholarship.com Users
Maximum Award: $500

What's easier than filling out a complete profile at Scholarships.com to be automatically entered to win a monthly drawing for $500? Not much. The best part is, there is no lengthy essay or application packet required. Simply register and create a FREE profile at Scholarships.com. For more information and to apply, please visit Register & Win $500 Scholarship

Tell-A-Friend Scholarship Sweepstakes

Deadline: March 31, 2016
Available to: Scholarships.com Users
Maximum Award: $1,000

Spread the word about Scholarships.com to your friends for the contest and you'll have a chance to win money for college - $1,000 for you and $500 for one of your buddies. There's no limit as to how many people you can send your link to and if you win, one of your friends will be chosen at random to win $500. Not a member? No worries. Simply create a FREE Scholarships.com profile today. For more information and to apply, please visit Tell-A-Friend Scholarship Sweepstakes

Toyota TeenDrive365 Video Challenge

Deadline: March 7, 2016
Available to: High school students
Maximum Award: $15,000

Learning to drive is one of the coolest times for a teen, but also one of the most dangerous. You have the power to inspire your fellow teens. Create a 30-60 second video for your fellow teen drivers that highlights the importance of safe teen driving and you could win $15,000 or one of 14 other prizes.

For more information and to apply, please visit Toyota TeenDrive365 Video Challenge

Hood Milk Sportsmanship Scholarship Program

Deadline: March 11, 2016
Available to: High school seniors
Maximum Award: $5,000

If you are a New England high school student-athlete who have displayed a high degree of sportsmanship while participating in a varsity high school student-athlete who have displayed a high degree of sportsmanship while participating in a varsity high school sport, you may be one of 18 students to win a $5,000 scholarship towards a two- or four-year college education.

For more information and to apply, please visit Hood Milk Sportsmanship Scholarship Program

Jain Foundation LGMD Social Media Scholarship

Deadline:May 25, 2016
Available to:High school/college students
Maximum Award: $5,000

A total of four $3,000 scholarships will be awarded to students who teach others about Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophies, often referred to as LGMDs. Simply share a LGMD fact of your choice on a social media network and invite your friends to "vote," share, or "like" your post. Students may apply for either the Merit-Based Scholarship or the Social Media Scholarship.

For more information and to apply, please visit Jain Foundation LGMD Social Media Scholarship

MSUM #BeADragon Scholarship

Deadline: March 1,, 2016
Available to: Incoming freshman, transfer students
Maximum Award: $2,500

If you are thinking about attending MSUM, simply follow @AdmissionsMSUM on Twitter and display your Dragon Pride in a Tweet explaining why you want to be a #BeADragon. You could be one of four winners to receive a $2,500 scholarship; a $1,000 scholarship winner for tweets with the most likes or a $1,000 scholarship winner for the most retweeted tweets.

For more information and to apply, please visit MSUM #BeADragon Scholarship

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

Tuition assistance from scholarships may be cut as much as 30 percent by fall 2017 for tens of thousands of New Mexico students. Proceeds from lotteries, including the January $1.6 billion Powerball, are not able to keep pace with higher education cost increases.

Ticket sales are down, college tuition costs are up, and state budgets are tight. As a result, lawmakers in eight states are considering cutting lottery-funded scholarship programs. New Mexico has one of the best lottery-based scholarships in the country, helping roughly 90 percent of all first-year, full-time students with full-tuition aid. According to an associate VP at the University of Mexico, students who normally qualify for such aid would have to pay nearly $1,700 out of pocket annually if the budget cut takes place, which will most likely necessitate taking out more in student loans. According to the Department of Education, only 60 percent of students would receive full-tuition benefits, instead of the current 90 percent.

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According to Susan Montoya Bryan, one reason New Mexico ticket sales have started to decline is that millennials tend to not buy lottery tickets; most likely because they opt to pay for gas at the pump instead of going into the convenience store. In several attempts to close the gap, New Mexico lawmakers have tried measures such as a "one-time appropriation to prop up scholarships and shifting $19 million in liquor tax revenue," moving unclaimed prize money to the lottery tuition fund, raising eligibility requirements to a 2.5 GPA, and having applicants complete at least 15 credit hours per semester at a four-year school.

Bryan reports that annual revenue from lotto ticket sales is about $40 million and tuition costs for eligible students are expected to surpass $65 million. Federal data already indicated that New Mexico has the highest student loan default rate. New Mexico is not the only state facing this financial dilemma. Tennessee tried a short-term goal by setting up an endowment to fund scholarships through interest and earnings. Georgia was the first to introduce lottery-based scholarships, nearly two decades ago, but had to make changes in 2011 which resulted in a 25 percent decrease of qualifying students. Republican state Rep. Jason Harper recommends that scholarships are used only after all financial aid is exhausted.

Lucky for you, we offer you tons of scholarship opportunities for which you may qualify that are not affected by the lottery system.

And remember, there’s no need to rely on expensive student loan options to pay for your college education. For more information on finding free scholarship money for college, conduct a Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

What do you get when you combine Nike Co-Founder and Stanford alumni Phillip Knight with one of the world's most prestigious universities? A big name school with an additional $400 million donated graduate scholarships. As a gift to Stanford University on his 78th birthday, the endowment is intended to attract some of the world's brightest graduate and professional students looking to solve major global challenges.

The Knight-Hennessey Scholars Program is one of the largest scholarships to have ever been donated from an individual university. Stanford also claims that the program represented the "largest single increase in student financial aid in Stanford's history," and it will provide aid for a minimum of three years of graduate-level study, with 100 scholars admitted annually. The Stanford Daily reports that it "will be analogous to the Rhodes and Shwarzman scholarships." According to the press release, scholars will be nominated by their universities based on high academic achievement, leadership, and civic commitment. Nominees will be from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities.

John Hennessey, Stanford's President of 16 years who is stepping down this year to run the new scholars program, claims that the program "will be the largest graduate scholarship program focused on all disciplines at any university in the world." The graduate and professional schools in which it will enroll scholars are law, business, medicine, engineering, humanities and sciences, education, Earth, energy, and environmental sciences. There is also an option for extended funding for scholars pursuing PhD or MD degrees. Leadership training and development, residential experiences, immersive educational opportunities, and additional degree opportunities focused on public policy and problem-solving will be incorporated into the program. More than 80% of the endowment will cover students' living expenses and education.

While the generous endowment would help educate some of the world's prospective leaders, some criticize the "megagifts" given to prestigious universities, claiming that "they are more about prestige and ego than academic excellence," as reported by Alessandra Stanley of the New York Times. Could this really just be an "arms race between the top schools with no connection to reality," as stated by New York writer and author Malcolm Gladwell?

Knight has supported Stanford since 2006, when he contributed a large gift to Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. The Knight-Hennessey Scholars Program is actually Knight's second largest donation to a college or university, the largest being a 2013 donation of $500 million to the University of Oregon in which he challenged the university to raise $500M by offering to match the amount. Stanford will start accepting applications beginning in the summer of 2017 and admit its first brigade of scholars for fall of 2018. Knight and Hennessey "dream of a future 20, 30, or 50 years from now, when thousands of graduates - who can think outside the box as skilled problem-solvers - will be working together for a more peaceful, habitable world."

Would you apply for the scholarship program? Keep an eye out for more information to come on the scholarship and in meantime, see what other scholarship opportunities you are eligible for.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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Talk is Cheap. College Isn't.

New Policy to Eliminate Pell Grants, Federal Loans, Tuition Tax Credits

Feb 23, 2016

by Susan Dutca

Talk is cheap when it comes to politicians' promises, but one thing that remains expensive is a college education. From vetoing a scholarships bill that would free up $721 million for community colleges and scholarships for low-income students, to killing the Senate Bill 180 which would require the New Mexico Lottery to provide $41 million to a college scholarships fund there has been no resolution to the budget stalemate since July 1, 2015. New America Higher Education has one resolution: out with the old, in with the new. That means removing federal loans, federal tuition vouchers, Pell grants, and tuition tax credits.

In their policy paper, "Starting from Scratch: A New Federal and State Partnership in Higher Education," New America Higher Education expressed their vision to reconstruct and repair the "broken system of financing higher education." The team plans to scrap the archaic system and replace it with a "federal-state financial partnership" where the government would dole money to states, which would go to colleges and universities - taking into account important factors such as enrolled low-income students. Students would only have to pay their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and the state would be held accountable for student outcomes such graduation rates and securing employment. In addition to lowering tuition, the cost of living expenses such as room and board, transportation, and childcare costs would be lowered.

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States would have to maintain their current funding as provided in their individual budgets, match federal funding by 25 percent, and be responsible for performance and costs. There would be a bonus to states that contribute more than expected and also, a bonus for colleges who enroll more than 25 percent of low-income students. What's the catch? The plan would cost roughly $38 billion annually, and states would have to contribute an additional $17.9 billion. The existing system has left about 7 million borrowers in default with their student loans and the report claims that "going to college has left them in a much worse position than if they had never enrolled."

The partisanship disaster continues as colleges and universities haven't received "operating money from the state since July 1," according to Celeste Bott of the Chicago Tribune. The MAP grant provides up to $5,000 in financial aid to students who demonstrate need, according to the Illinois Student Assistance Commission. Some claim the scholarships bill would snag money from social service providers who provide care for the state's "most vulnerable residents," or that states simply do not have the money to spend. Governor Rauner agrees that the school funding formula needs to be changed.

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Do you support New America's Higher Education proposal? Leave your thoughtful comments below. Don't wait another day - take advantage of the available scholarships and learn more about grants and financial aid today.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

Comments (27)

by Susan Dutca

There are scholarships, grants, and fellowships that reward students based on academic, athletic, music, and other types of achievements. But now there's one that encourages students who have enrolled to drop out. The Thiel Fellowship awards $100,000 to students who want to build and create things instead of sitting in a classroom. Founded by Peter Thiel, one of Forbes' top entrepreneurs, the fellowship encourages a non-traditional alternative to a college education, and some pretty bright students have jumped on board to learn before they get an education.

Naturally, the Fellowship struck a heated national debate upon its inception. Academics tend to believe that a college education is invaluable, including Stanford's President-to-be Marc Tessier-Lavigne. He was asked about the value of a college degree versus "folks like Peter Thiel telling people not to go to college." He responded, "the complexity of the world is in such a way today that the case for a liberal arts education has never been stronger." Some Ivy League students think differently. Harvard junior Grace Xiao dropped out after receiving the fellowship and her company Kynplex is now funded by the fellowship. Xiao states that, "Federal grants are harder to get which is pushing more researchers to explore early partnerships with industry."

According to The Wall Street Journal, college graduates only recently started earning a higher income than they had over the last decade, and unemployment rates are now declining. Unemployment rates dropped from 7% in 2010 to 4.9% in 2015. The top 25% of students in highly-desirable fields earn at least $60,000 a year. How successful are the Thiel Fellows? The Foundation's website boasts that since its first class, Thiel Fellows have started more than 60 companies that are together worth over $1.1 billion, and have created hundreds of jobs in the course of tackling problems ranging from telemedicine and human longevity to solar energy and clean water."

Spread over two years, the $100,000 grant is reserved for 20-30 young adults under the age of 23 who have strong entrepreneurial ambitions. Applicants do not need to have an incorporated company, a developed product, or even a pitch deck to apply. Fellows don't need to be programmers - others have started up non-profits, launched media companies, and built hardware. The Foundation provides grant recipients with a team of programmers, salespeople, and people with "in-house expertise in engineering, marketing, and design." Fellows are able to meet some of the industry's top leaders and investors for strong networking and business opportunities. The Foundation does not take equity in fellows' companies either. So what is the catch? If you win, you have to drop out of college to accept the fellowship.

In addition to co-founding PayPal in 1998, serving as a director at Facebook, launching Palantir Technologies, funding LinkedIn, Yelp, and other tech startups, Peter Thiel is also a partner at Founders Fund and the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build a Future. His motivation for starting the fellowship? "College discourages students from trying new things and leaves them in horrendous debt." Would you apply for the fellowship? If yes, create a profile today to apply for the fellowship, as well as other scholarship, grant, and fellowship opportunities.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

Comments (18)

by Susan Dutca

Between her coursework and political activism, Bernarda Elizabet Garcia actively fights for immigrants' rights, especially when it comes to funding higher education. As a scholarship recipient of the Mario Savio Lecture Fund's Young Activist Award, Garcia is a powerful and influential voice in her community through her advocacy for extending federal financial aid to undocumented college students by "improving the quality of life through immigration reform and education." Though there currently are not many government policies that give financial assistance to undocumented students for higher education, there are other organizations that are dedicated to helping those students pay for a college education.

There are roughly 11.2 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, with 2.1 million potentially eligible for the most recently proposed federal DREAM Act. Only 7,000-13,000 undocumented students are enrolled in college in the United States. According to College Board, college tuition and fees for full-time students at a public four-year institution (in-state) was roughly $19,548 per year in 2015-2016. For out-of-state tuition at a public school, the cost was $34,031 and tuition at a private nonprofit cost, on average, $43,921 in the same year. Without financial aid, it is nearly impossible to afford a college education, especially when many undocumented students come from low-income households.

Though there is no federal or state law that prohibits undocumented students from being admitted or attending U.S. colleges, government policies pose a barrier, as undocumented students do not have access to federal financial aid or Pell grants. However, Georgia, along with Alabama and South Carolina, plan to implement a policy that would ban illegal students from being admitted to their colleges. Just earlier this month, Georgia's Supreme Court rejected an appeal for lowering the in-state tuition for undocumented students. According to Education Reporter Lauren Foreman, following Georgia's decision, eight students from Georgia State University were arrested after refusing to leave a protest. The DREAM Act, a bipartisan legislation introduced in Congress in 2001, failed to pass even after countless reintroductions and a big push in 2010. The goal of the act was to create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented children who grew up in the US. However, all state DREAM Acts are different and are not synonymous with DACA, which is a policy that was created in 2012 by President Obama to grant deferred deportation to those under 31 years of age who came to the U.S. when they were younger than 16.

Another controversial topic is whether or not undocumented students should be eligible for lower tuition - tuition that state residents pay when attending in-state universities and colleges. Currently, the majority of schools charge undocumented students out-of-state tuition. According to the National Immigration Law Center, at least twenty states have passed tuition equity bills that allow undocumented students to pay the same tuition as their classmates, regardless of their immigration status (certain criteria must be met to qualify). Based on the laws passed by these states, there is a general consensus that the state does not "lose revenue from the number of students who would otherwise pay out-of-state tuition," but rather, "it raises the percentage of high school graduates who pursue a college degree."

Organizations such as the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and TheDream.US are dedicated to helping undocumented students earn scholarships to pay for college, regardless of immigration status. Be sure to check with your current or prospective university or college to see what funding opportunities you are eligible for, if you are an undocumented student. Check out our scholarships for undocumented students and scholarships for which you qualify today to help fund your college education.

And remember, there’s no need to rely on expensive student loan options to pay for your college education. For more information on finding free scholarship money for college, conduct a Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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