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Scholarships.com Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

September 21, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month. This annual event was started in 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson, and was initially known as Hispanic Heritage Week.  It was expanded to a month-long celebration of Hispanic and Latino history in 1988 by President Reagan. Schools, municipalities, and organizations nationwide take this opportunity to honor the culture and heritage of Hispanics in America and to celebrate the achievements of notable Hispanic Americans.

Hispanics were some of the first residents of what is now the United States of America, with Spanish-speaking settlers arriving in Florida and the Southwest in the 1500s. Currently, Hispanic Americans make up over 15 percent of the population of the United States, making them the second largest ethnic group in the nation. Hispanic Americans have played notable roles in events throughout the history of the country and many prominent figures in business, entertainment and government proudly claim Hispanic heritage.

As a result, there is a lot to celebrate in Hispanic Heritage Month. In addition to the achievements of Hispanic Americans, Hispanic Heritage Month also celebrates the independence of several Latin American countries, as the dates coincide with the anniversaries of independence of Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Chile and Belize.

There are even scholarship awards offered in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, including this week's Scholarship of the Week, the PRIMERO Hispanic Heritage Scholarship. This $10,000 award was created in recognition of the achievements of Hispanic families who put their children through college and is meant to help realize the dreams of students who are the first in their families to attend college. In addition to awards that specifically celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, a number of other Hispanic scholarships are also available to help advance the education and achievements of Hispanic Americans.

To find out more about scholarship opportunities for Hispanic students or more general scholarships for minorities, conduct a free scholarship search on Scholarships.com.

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Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

September 28, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Many college scholarships focus on high school seniors, but there are scholarship opportunities for younger students as well. This week's Scholarship of the Week is one such opportunity, the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program. These scholarships are awarded to students in grades 5-12 who have served their communities in a significant way in the last 12 months.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards were created in 1995 through a partnership between Prudential Financial and the National Association of Secondary School Principals. These community service scholarships give young people who show an early commitment to helping others a chance at national recognition, as well as up to $6,000 to pay for school and an additional $5,000 to benefit the charity organization of their choice.

Prize: Five high school and five middle school National Honorees will receive $5,000 scholarship awards and an additional $5,000 donation to a charity of their choice; 102 State Honorees will receive $1,000 awards and will go on to compete in the national contest and participate in an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Eligibility: Students in grades 5-12 who are legal residents of any U.S. State or the District of Columbia who have engaged in a volunteer activity in the last 12 months. Applications must be certified by a school principal or the local head of one of several officially designated certifying organizations listed on the contest website.

Deadline: Applications must be submitted for certification by November 2, 2009 and must be sent by the school or organization by November 9, 2009.

Required Material: A completed scholarship application which describes your role in the community service activity you completed, as well as its impact on you and the community. Applications and a list of the questions applicants are required to answer are available on the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards website.

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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Audit Reveals Problems with Colorado Scholarship Program

September 30, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Colorado's CollegeInvest agency, an organization in charge of state loan forgiveness and scholarship programs, is facing criticism and increased scrutiny from the state's legislature after an audit revealed conflicts of interest and a surprisingly low number of scholarship awards being made by the board. The state legislature will now require the agency to report to them monthly to ensure proper oversight of the state's scholarship and student loan funds.

The audit found that the CollegeInvest Early Achievers Scholarship, a fund that awards high-achieving high school students with college financial aid, had only given out a tiny fraction of the awards it was expected to since it was established in 2005. Students opt into the scholarship program as 7th, 8th or 9th graders and pledge to take pre-college coursework in high school and maintain a GPA of 2.5 or better. The Colorado legislature estimated that the scholarship fund would award about $3.8 million in scholarships per year, but awarded only $91,000 this year. A volunteerism scholarship program and a student loan forgiveness programs managed by CollegeInvest also fell significantly short of goals and projections.

Meanwhile, the fund incurred over $12 million in administrative expenses beyond salaries and benefits for its employees. Reports on the audit note that the program has spent $10 on administrative costs for every $1 in scholarships awarded. The audit also found conflicts of interest with the board awarding funding to other organizations they were connected to and giving out large payments to financial advisors.

CollegeInvest officials say that the program is off to a slow start and that potential conflicts of interest were disclosed and didn't affect board decisions. For now, the state legislature has just asked for increased oversight of the program. But for Colorado students who were expecting to benefit from academic scholarships, community service scholarships, or loan forgiveness programs for which money is in place but funds aren't being awarded in large amounts, any change in these programs cannot come soon enough.

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World Sport Chicago Scholarship

October 5, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Chicago didn't win the Olympics, but something good has come out of the effort. This week's Scholarship of the Week comes from World Sport Chicago, which was created as the lasting legacy of Chicago’s 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Bid to support the city's student athletes as they prepare to go to college. As part of the scholarship program, 56 students will be chosen to become World Sport Chicago Scholars and participate in Kaplan ACT Tutoring and a Chicago Scholars mentoring initiative. Of those 56, 16 student athletes will be chosen to receive renewable college scholarships worth up $10,000 annually.

World Sport Chicago was launched in September to help high school student athletes not only pay for college but be more prepared for the transition. The chosen scholars will get ACT prep help for the spring 2010 testing dates. The award is a good example of athletic scholarships that look at more than your abilities in your chosen sport.

Prize: 16 renewable college scholarships worth up to $10,000 annually.

Eligibility: High school juniors who live and study in Chicago and have participated in an Olympic/Paralympic sport for two seasons in the past three years. Athletes of all levels are encouraged to apply; the judges just want to see that you're committed to your sport, on whatever level you may be. Commitment to the Olympic values of Excellence, Friendship and Respect on the playing field in school and in the community will be considered during the evaluation process. Applicants must have a 2.5 GPA or better and be willing to perform the duties of World Sport Chicago scholars, which includes promoting Olympic values in the community.

Deadline: November 30, 2009

Required Material: An online application from World Sport Chicago, which includes three short essays, two recommendations and an unofficial high school transcript. Scholarships must be applied to accredited four-year institutions. Preference may be given to student athletes with high financial need.

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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American Legion National Oratorical Contest

October 12, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Are you an aspiring politician, skilled speech-writer, or an excellent orator? Perhaps you just want to learn more about the United States Constitution and share what you've learned. If you're passionate about government or public speaking, or if you're looking to improve your knowledge of each while potentially winning scholarships, this week's Scholarship of the Week is worth checking out.

The American Legion National Oratorical Contest is an annual scholarship for high school students. It's divided into local, state, and national speech competitions, with scholarship opportunities existing at the state and national levels, and potentially the local level, as well. The top scholarship prize is $18,000 and the contest is open to students in grades 9-12. The goal of the contest is to develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the Constitution of the United States on the part of high school students.

Prize: State/department winners will receive $1,500 and go on to compete in the national finals; national prizes are as follows:

  • 1st place - $18,000
  • 2nd place - $16,000
  • 3rd place - $14,000

Eligibility: Currently enrolled high school students, grades 9-12, who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Contestants must either live or attend school in the state where they enter the competition. Students can only compete in one state.

Deadline: Varies. Local contests occur during fall/winter, with state-level competitions concluding before March 8, 2010. The national finals will take place April 9-11, 2010.

Required Material: To be eligible for department and national finals, students must enter through their local American Legion. Dates, locations, and contact information for local contests can be accessed through the American Legion website. The contest will have two parts: a Prepared Oration and an Assigned Topic Discourse. The Prepared Oration must be on some aspect of the Constitution of the United States with emphasis on the duties and obligations of a citizen to our government.  The same oration must be used in both the department and national contests. The possible topics for the Assigned Topic discourse are available on the American Legion website.

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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High School Seniors: Make Note of Approaching Scholarship Deadlines

October 14, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

While most scholarship application deadlines occur between January and March, a number of large scholarship awards for high school seniors have deadlines that fall much earlier in the academic year. To make sure you're not missing out on major sources of college funding, be sure to start your scholarship search when you start your college applications, if not sooner. If you haven't gotten around to applying for scholarships yet, check out these awards with approaching deadlines for motivation. You may want to mark them on your calendar and clear some space in your schedule to apply.

Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program

Deadline: October 30

Dollar amount: $20,000

Who qualifies: High school seniors who plan to enter college next fall and to pursue a bachelor's degree. Students must be U.S. citizens with grade point averages of 2.0 or higher and critical financial need (typically, a family adjusted gross income under $50,000).

Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation

Deadline: October 31

Dollar amount: $20,000

Who qualifies: Current high school seniors planning to enter college in the fall. Must have a minimum high school GPA of 3.0.

VFW Voice of Democracy

Deadline: November 1

Dollar amount: $30,000

Who qualifies: Any high school student in grades 9-12 who composes a taped response of 3-5 minutes to the question, "Does America Still Have Heroes?" Entries should be submitted through your high school or the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

Intel Science Talent Search

Deadline: November 18

Dollar amount: $100,000

Who qualifies: High school seniors who have individually completed a research project in science, math, medicine, or engineering. More information on qualifying projects is available on the contest website.

AXA Achievement Scholarship

Deadline: December 15

Dollar amount: $25,000

Who qualifies: High school seniors who plan to enroll as undergraduate students at a two-year or four-year university. Winners will be chosen based on outstanding achievements in school, work, or their community.

These are only a few of the scholarships for high school students in our database, and only a few of the awards with upcoming deadlines. For more information about these and other scholarship opportunities, conduct a free college scholarship search. If you qualify based on the information you provided, you will see a link to the award in your search results.

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Scholarship Opportunities for Backyard Builders

October 16, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

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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Students Begin to Benefit from Anonymous Donations

October 19, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

During the 2008-2009 academic year, an anonymous donor gave over $100 million to 20 colleges and universities nationwide. A large portion of the donated money was earmarked for university scholarships, specifically for minorities and women. Now, schools are beginning to spend the money, and The Chronicle of Higher Education is charting where the money is going.

So far, over 3,700 students at 15 schools have benefited from the money in some way, ranging from $100 book grants to scholarship awards of $5,000 per year or more. Students are also receiving indirect benefits of the donated money, as schools are using some of the discretionary funds to close gaps in their budgets left by reduced state spending and endowment losses, as well as to build up student resources and better support faculty research.

Primarily, though, the money is going towards scholarships. In addition to the funds already awarded, several of the schools plan to unveil scholarship programs in 2010, or to expand scholarship opportunities already offered through funding from the anonymous donor. Need-based and merit-based academic scholarships are being expanded or created and will reach out to students ranging from urban students attending Purdue University to military spouses at the University of Maryland University College.

A number of the colleges are looking for ways to jumpstart permanent endowed scholarship funds with the anonymous donations. Michigan State University and the University of Hawaii at Hilo are both starting matching-grant funds to encourage more donations for endowed scholarships on their campuses. California State University at Northridge is hoping to ultimately support 50 students a year through a freshman honors scholarship program begun with the donated money.

These generous donations from an anonymous source are changing students' lives nationwide and making paying for school easier. Universities are hoping that news of the donations and the continued good they're doing will spur others to give generously to scholarship programs. In the meantime, though, many individuals and organizations are already offering sizeable amounts of scholarship money to a wide range of deserving students. Conduct a free scholarship search to see some of these opportunities that may benefit you.

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Intel Science Talent Search

October 26, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

So, you're a science nerd. Lab coats and ambitious experiments aren't so much elements of monster movies and Halloween costumes as they are part of your daily life and career ambitions. Being so immersed in science, it's only natural you've gotten a jump on it as a high school student, getting all you can out of each science class and science fair. If you're a high school senior who's been conducting independent research this year, you should be sure to check out this week's Scholarship of the Week, the Intel Science Talent Search. It carries a top prize of $100,000, along with a chance to present your research at a national conference and meet leaders in your area of research.

To be eligible for this scholarship opportunity, you must have conducted an independent research project in a field of science, medicine, mathematics, or engineering. Your research project must have been your work alone, not a group or team project. You must complete a detailed research report describing your project and results to compete. Semifinalists and finalists will be selected primarily based on the strength of the research report.

Prize:

  • Grand prize: $100,000
  • Nine other winners receive awards of $20,000 to $75,000
  • 40 finalists: $7,500 and a new laptop computer
  • 300 semifinalists: $1,000

Eligibility: High school seniors (or any student attending their last year of high school) who are enrolled in a secondary institute in the United States or its territories, or are U.S. citizens currently studying abroad.

Deadline: November 18, 2009

Required Material: A completed research report describing your project, a contest entry form (available on the Intel Science Talent Search website), letters of recommendation from up to three teachers, an official high school transcript, and any supplemental materials required by the project.

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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MyArtSpace Art Scholarships

November 9, 2009

by Scholarships.com Staff

Art school is expensive and financial prospects for those who receive art degrees are not always certain. For budding artists at any level of education, art scholarships can make a huge difference, as can gaining exposure for your works of art.

This week's Scholarship of the Week, the MyArtSpace Art Scholarship Competition, gives art school students at both the undergraduate and graduate level the chance to earn up to $5,000 in scholarship money. Students compile an online portfolio, complete with artist's statement and CV, and post it to MyArtSpace for judging. Winning entries will exhibit artistic excellence in a visual arts medium, contemporary or traditional, including photography and video.

Prize: Undergraduate and graduate entries will be judged separately, with the following awards for each: First prize: $5,000; Second prize: $2,000; Third prize: $1,000

Eligibility: Current or prospective undergraduate or graduate students pursuing a BFA, MFA, or other approved degree program in an accredited art school. Applicants can enter either the undergraduate or graduate category of judging, but not both.

Deadline: December 16, 2009

Required Material: Completed online registration and high-resolution samples of work. To enter, artsists create a free portfolio on MyArtSpace.com or NYAXE.com and upload up to 20 images. Including an artist statement and a CV or résumé is also encouraged.

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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