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by Scholarships.com Staff

February is a short month, but it's jam-packed with celebrations.  I'm not just talking about Valentine's Day and Mardi Gras.  February is Black History Month, a reminder that long before President Obama took office, African Americans were doing some pretty amazing things.  Black History Month is a great opportunity to learn about and commemorate important people and events that often go overlooked in American history.  It's also a great time to seek out new scholarship opportunities.

Several local scholarships have Black History Month themes, and we've featured a small sampling of them on our Black History Month Scholarships resource page.

If you're an African American student looking to make your own contribution to Black history, and history in general, a great place to start is with our list of African American scholarships.  After all, there's nothing like a college education to help you achieve your goals and change the world.

In addition to raising awareness of the important roles African Americans have played throughout American history, two of the major goals of Black History Month are combating injustice and promoting equality--after all, its original dates were chosen to celebrate two key players in the early civil rights movement, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.  Students who have taken part in efforts with similar goals may want to take some time this month to commemorate their own achievements by applying for community service scholarships.

To apply for the scholarship awards mentioned above or to learn about other sources of money for college, conduct a free college scholarship search.


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by Emily

Roosevelt University in Chicago has just awarded its first batch of full-tuition scholarships to students graduating from Social Justice High School, a school on the city's southwest side.  Eight graduates from Social Justice High School earned four-year scholarships, each worth more than $80,000, for earning good grades and doing well on the ACT.

The program was announced in 2006 to give low-income students at a predominately Hispanic high school incentive to succeed in high school and go on to college.  To qualify, students must earn at least a 20 on the ACT and maintain a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.  The scholarships cover up to the full cost of tuition at Roosevelt for four years, minus other aid.  In addition, the students will also receive housing allowances of $11,000 per year to allow them to live in the Roosevelt University dorms downtown.

Winning scholarships can hold many benefits for students beyond just financial ones.  The Roosevelt University scholarships at Social Justice High School encourage students not to give up on academics and to push themselves in school.  Several of the recipients retook the ACT or put in extra effort on their coursework in order to qualify for the scholarship.  Winning a scholarship can also motivate students to be more successful in college, according to research into benefits of scholarships.

The Chicago Sun-Times has more information on the Roosevelt University scholarship porgram. This is just one of many generous local scholarships out there.  To learn about other scholarship opportunities, you can conduct a free college scholarship search.


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by Emily

Aspiring chefs in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and other locations across the country recently received the chance to compete for a wide range of culinary arts scholarships through the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP), a non-profit organization that helps underserved students prepare for careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry.  The annual C-CAP scholarship contest awards scholarships of up to the full amount of tuition at leading culinary schools to students who have participated in their programs.

A story in The Los Angeles Times followed students through the final round of the C-CAP competition, as well as the scholarship awards banquet, where nearly $590,000 was awarded, including several scholarships over $50,000.  To be accepted into the C-CAP scholarship competition, students must be 21 or younger and enrolled in a culinary arts course at a C-CAP school, and must have completed at least one culinary arts course.  Students complete a scholarship application that includes an essay component and two letters of recommendation.  They then compete in a preliminary cooking competition. Winners advance to the finals, which include another cooking contest and a scholarship interview.

Culinary arts can lead to a fulfilling career, but programs can be expensive and it can be difficult to find enough financial aid.  This and other culinary arts scholarships can help students follow their passion and enter careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry with minimal debt.  To find out about the C-CAP scholarship, you can visit their website, and to find other culinary arts scholarships, you can do a free college scholarship search at Scholarships.com.


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by Emily

Over the course of the last year, a number of colleges and universities have begun to offer scholarship opportunities for people who have found themselves out of work and in need of further education or job training. Yesterday, U.S. News profiled several newer community college programs, including several full-tuition scholarships, but even more awards are out there. Here's a run-down of some of the scholarships for displaced workers that we've found.

Community College Scholarships: Scholarships for recently unemployed students offered by community colleges are the most common. Colleges in several states are offering free tuition for one to two semesters, or even more, for displaced workers. Some, such as Oakton Community College in Illinois and the Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania stipulate certain degree or certificate programs for their tuition benefits, and others, like several community colleges in New Jersey, will allow students to enroll in any course with empty seats. Others are offering partial tuition discounts, such as Anoka-Ramsey Community College in Minnesota. Michigan has launched a state-wide No Worker Left Behind program, which provides up to two years of free tuition for unemployed and underemployed workers at state community colleges. Students can also apply the credits towards an undergraduate degree at a state college or university. To qualify, students must be pursuing degrees that will lead to employment in high-demand occupations.

Undergraduate Scholarships: This summer, DeVry began offering scholarships to students who have enrolled at one of the seven schools owned by DeVry and who have lost their jobs in the last 12 months. As one example, the Employment Gap Scholarship gives students $1,000 per semester towards their tuition at DeVry. Many other four-year schools have also launched generous aid programs, or even offered full-tuition scholarships, for new and returning students who are facing economic difficulties. A number of these scholarships and grants may be available to displaced workers, especially if you now qualify for a Federal Pell Grant after losing your job. Scholarships for adult students are also worth looking into. While only a few are specifically for the recently unemployed, several are designed to generously aid adults who are enrolling in undergraduate programs.

Graduate Scholarships: In addition to offering free career center services, several universities are also aiding their alumni through tuition discounts on graduate programs and additional certification and training. Manchester College in Indiana will allow students who fail to find a job or a graduate program within six months of graduation a year of free coursework. Similarly, St. John's University in New York allows laid off alumni to attend its graduate programs for half price.

Government Benefits: Recently, the Obama administration began a national push for states to grant full unemployment benefits to recipients who choose to enroll in a college degree program, as incentive for unemployed workers to attend college. Additionally, financial aid adminstrators have been instructed to use greater lattitude in dealing with financial aid appeals from students who have lost their jobs, which could result in more federal grant money for returning students.


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by Emily

Earlier this summer, it came to light that for some students in Illinois, being accepted by state colleges was less about what they knew than who they knew, as an investigation into admission practices revealed the existence of a special clout list of well-connected applicants to the University of Illinois. Now, the Associated Press is reporting that some college scholarships in the state may be governed by a similar principle.

Each Illinois state representative is given the equivalent of two four-year full-tuition scholarships to award to his or her constituents each year. Some representatives choose to break up their scholarship awards into eight one-year full-tuition awards, while others choose to hand out two-year or four-year scholarships. At least 83 of these scholarships went to students with some form of political connections between 2008 and 2009. Of these scholarships, 41 went directly to the children of donors to the politician making the award.

While the lawmakers award the scholarships, the universities are responsible for finding the funding for each award. After state colleges and universities, as well as the majority of the state's grant programs for low-income students have faced steep budget cuts this year, these General Assembly scholarships have drawn substantial ire from critics who feel the $12.5 million currently allocated to the program could go to better use elsewhere.

Representatives deny impropriety, but it seems that families in Illinois who have seen their 529 plans shrink in the recession may want to consider taking their college savings and investing them in their representative's next reelection campaign.


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by Emily

Even in the face of a continuing recession, new scholarship opportunities are being made available to students in a variety of situations. Recently, students in two communities in Michigan, a state hit especially hard by economic problems, have received news of scholarship programs that will give them significant help paying for school, even as the state considers cutting funding to one of its largest merit scholarship awards.

Baldwin, a community in rural northern Michigan, is the first to take advantage of the state's "Promise Zones" program, which allows areas with a high percentage of poor students to use state property tax funds to provide college scholarships for their students. Baldwin plans to offer scholarships of up to $5,000 for up to four years to current high school seniors. Up to nine other high-poverty communities in Michigan are eligible to participate in the program, provided they, like Baldwin, raise money to fund their scholarships for the first two years of awards. The Promise Zone funding, like the state's endangered Michigan Promise scholarship, were inspired by the Kalamazoo Promise scholarship, a full-tuition scholarship award created by an anonymous private donor that allows graduates of Kalamazoo public schools to attend any college in Michigan for four years.

Another Michigan community has also unveiled a substantial scholarship program for its high school students, this time a four-year full-tuition award to Finlandia University for all graduates of public schools in Hancock, a tiny mining town in the state's Upper Peninsula, who gain admission to the college. The scholarship program was created as Finlandia's way of paying the community for the use of a building that the school district no longer needed. Rather than working out a traditional payment plan for the purchase of the building, something complicated by tighter credit requirements, Finlandia proposed a deal that would provide more immediate and tangible benefits to the students of Hancock. The scholarships will be offered to members of Finlandia's current freshmen class and to subsequent graduates of Hancock's schools.

Local scholarships like these exist for communities nationwide, and are likely to seek out inventive ways to find funding, as community members are committed to helping their neighbors succeed. To find out more about scholarship opportunities for students in your area, conduct a free scholarship search.


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by Agnes Jasinski

As unemployment rates remain high and budgets stay tight, more people are looking to wait out the struggling economy by going back to college. Competition then has become more fierce not only on the admissions level, but for funding to pay for those educations. While many schools are doing whatever they can to continue offering scholarships and grants, the economy has affected some schools' available funding. Good news is, scholarships do exist, and there are things you can do to have a better chance of landing one.

  • Apply early, and apply often. Scholarships wait for no one, and a later deadline doesn't mean you should wait until the very last moment to apply. Generous scholarships like the Coca-Cola Scholars Program have deadlines in October, for example. It's not a bad move to look ahead and start applying for awards beyond this year, either, to get an idea of funding you'll need in the future. To see scholarships that have deadlines this fall, conduct a a free scholarship search and see the dozens you could be eligible for.
  • Don't rule out local scholarships. While funding packages from your intended college are often more generous than outside awards, it won't hurt to supplement any funding you're awarded or have a backup plan in case what your school offers covers less of your fees than you thought. Local scholarships from your dad's employer or your local bowling league are also less competitive than college-based awards or the more well-known contests, and often look at things beyond your GPA and test scores to factor in things like community service, your experience with that organization and financial need. New scholarships are being created all the time, so check on your search throughout the school year for the most up-to-date results.
  • Stand out on the application. It's not too late to make up for that less-than-stellar grade in your high school Algebra class, especially if you're looking ahead to scholarship opportunities beyond your freshman year in college. GPAs matter from your entire high school career, so don't slack off when the senioritis hits. Don't be afraid of AP classes unless it's a subject you know you'd get a low grade in, and get involved in your school and your community as it's also not always about academics. Work on that resume by applying for internships that fit your intended major, and put in more hours of practice if you're going for a sports or music scholarship. It's never too late to make yourself a more desirable scholarship candidate.
  • Appeal your award. If you've done everything you can - filled out your FAFSA early, put together impressive scholarship applications - and you feel the financial aid you've been offered from your school is unfair or if your circumstances have changed dramatically since applying for government aid, you still have options. Schools are more likely to reconsider packages in the current climate, and you could be eligible for more grant and scholarship funding, the best kind that you don't need to pay back.

For more information on upcoming scholarships and other helpful financial aid tips, visit our College Resources. Tomorrow, we'll explore your options on keeping college costs low and looking at a school's program versus its reputation.


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by Emily

Yesterday, the big "oh, look, a distraction from my homework!" news was a boy in Colorado who had apparently climbed into a homemade hot air balloon and floated away. This, of course, raised questions. The immediate question was, "is this for real?" especially after he was found hiding in his house, safely on solid ground, a few hours later. Immediately on the heels of this first query was a second, "who builds a giant balloon in their backyard, anyway?"

While no one has had much luck answering the first one yet, maybe you're the type of student who knows the answer to the second question. For some people, there's a certain allure to creating and executing plans for original creations. While your experiments and blueprints may not have resulted in a shiny balloon capable of capturing and holding national attention for hours, your inventions can still gain you recognition, and even cash, by way of scholarship awards. So if the saga of "balloon boy" yesterday inspired you to build your own airborne contraption, you may want to see if you can win some scholarship money by doing so.

There are numerous scholarships available for more inventive students, whether they're interested in engineering, design, business and entrepreneurship, or just making cool things as a hobby. Students engaging in other out-of-the-ordinary pursuits in addition to inventing may take an interest in any number of unusual college scholarships, ranging from awards for speaking fluent Klingon to awards for exceptional duck-calling.

Aspiring inventors who are looking for college aid will definitely want to check out the Collegiate Inventors Competition. This annual scholarship offers awards of up to $25,000 for doing what you do anyway: creating and developing a new and workable idea, process, or technology. Students more interested in building elaborate designs from shiny material, on the other hand, may find themselves drawn to the Duck Brand Duct Tape "Stuckat Prom" Contest. This well-known annual scholarship gives one lucky couple $3,000 college scholarships for designing and wearing duct tape prom attire. If you don't just want to build, but want to also produce, market, and distribute your brilliant inventions, you may be a candidate for one of several entrepreneurship and business scholarships awarded each year by various foundations. There may even be local scholarships for young entrepreneurs in your area.

These aren't the only scholarship opportunities available to creative and enterprising students.  To see more award opportunities like the ones mentioned above, conduct a free scholarship search on Scholarships.com.


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by Agnes Jasinski

Scholarships for cancer survivors or students who have experienced cancer in their immediate family are fairly common awards, as many organizations look to assist those who are under a great deal of stress and financial strain. The largest provider of cancer scholarships is the American Cancer Society, which doles out awards based on where applicants are located.

This week's Scholarship of the Week is the ACS Cancer Survivor College Scholarship, given to students with a history of cancer so that they may pursue their post-secondary education from an accredited university, community college or vocational technical school. Applicants to this award must reside in states covered by the society's Great West Division, but don't worry too much if you're not in that particular coverage area. The American Cancer Society has scholarships for cancer survivors who live across the country, so if you think you qualify, conduct a scholarship search to find awards in your area.

Prize:

Awards are given of up to $2,500, but recipients can apply multiple years for a possible lifetime award of up to $10,000.

Eligibility:

Applicants must have been diagnosed with cancer before the age of 21, be 25 or younger at the time of application, be a U.S. citizen and a resident of Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, or Wyoming, have been accepted without condition to an accredited university, college, community college, or vocational technical school, and have a GPA of 2.5 or above.

Deadline:

February 26, 2010

Required Material:

The American Cancer Society provides an application that will ask applicants for an essay, academic transcripts, a letter of acceptance to an accredited institution of higher education, a financial aid form, and three letters of recommendation, including one from the applicant's physician. Applicants will be asked to complete 25 hours of volunteer service with the American Cancer Society.

Further details about the application process can be found by conducting a free college scholarship search on Scholarships.com. Once the search is completed, students eligible for this scholarship award will find it in their search results.


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