Scholarship America's Tips for Summer Scholarship Searching

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06 JUL 2011
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From Caddies to Trekkies to Just Because You’re Tall, Wide Variety of Scholarships Available

While summer offers students a break from hitting the books, Scholarship America recommends using that extra time to find scholarship dollars to pay for college. There are a variety of scholarships available that range from awarding dollars based on ethnicity to unique offerings for caddies, Star Trek fans and even individuals who are tall.

“Tuition costs are at an all-time high, which is significantly impacting the number of students who can afford higher education,” said Lauren Segal, president and CEO of Scholarship America. “The good news is that there are resources available based on a variety of interests, abilities and even genetics that will not only get students in the door but also keep them there so that they earn their degree and graduate with a manageable amount of debt but they need to devote time and energy to finding those resources.”

For the second year in a row, student loan debt – now totaling close to one trillion dollars – topped credit card debt. Scholarship America is offering advice to help students and families find financial resources that will allow them to earn an educational degree beyond high school and also graduate with a manageable level of debt. Scholarship America works with companies and organizations that offer a variety of scholarship programs.

There are also many unique scholarships available, and their criteria aren't limited to financial need or athletic or academic achievement. Some examples include:

      • The Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship offers a full tuition and housing award that is renewable for four years for applicants who have been a caddie and are sponsored by a golf or country club.
      • The Starfleet Academy Scholarships are available to post secondary and graduate students who have been active members of the Starfleet Academy – the International Star Trek Fan Association for at least one year.
      • Tall Clubs International (TCI) awards scholarships of up to $1,000 to students under age 21 who are sponsored by a local chapter of TCI and meet their minimum height requirements (5 feet, 10 inches for women; 6 feet, 2 inches for men.)
      • FFAWN Foundation of Mary J. Blige provides scholarships to deserving women.
      • Vanguard Minority Scholarship Program provides merit-based scholarships of up to $10,000 to minority students pursuing studies in business, finance, economics or accounting.

In 2010, Scholarship America provided nearly $200 million to 105,000 students through its programs.

In addition to researching scholarships, students also are encouraged to spend the summer doing activities that will increase the likelihood they will be awarded scholarship dollars.

“Many scholarship applicants earn extra points for extra curricular activities and community service,” Segal said. “Summer is the perfect time to get the experience needed to make applications more appealing to the individuals making the decisions.”

Scholarship America offers the following tips for students and families looking for scholarship dollars:

      • Do your homework:
          • Scholarships are posted and awarded year round, not just during the school year. There are many essay contests for both high school and college students with deadlines throughout the summer.
      • Plan ahead:
          • Scholarship applications can be complex and time consuming so it is important to review all of the necessary details up front and set aside ample time to complete your application. Like any other assignment, it is important to take your time and do it well.
      • Renewable scholarships – The gift that keeps on giving:
          • Renewable scholarships ensure students have the financial wherewithal to stay in school. The majority of renewable aid comes directly from the college and sometimes from the specific academic department; however, there are many others including:
              • The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation provides more than 1,000 four-year renewable scholarships to eligible high school students each year.
              • The National Merit Scholarship program provides a variety of different awards—including both corporate- and college-sponsored four-year renewable awards—to its 15,000 or so finalists.
            • Don’t forget the thank you note:
              • For every scholarship you receive, it is important to show appreciation by acknowledging the gift that you received in a letter or note.

This year, Scholarship America is celebrating 50 years of providing more than $2.5 billion in scholarships and sending 1.7 million students to college. The organization was founded in 1961 in Fall River, Massachusetts by Dr. Irving Fradkin, who noticed a discrepancy between students’ desires to go to college and their families’ abilities to pay for it. To bridge the gap, Fradkin asked each person in his Fall River community to donate just $1 towards sending Fall River seniors to college. His early efforts became known as the Dollars for Scholars program, which still exists today under Scholarship America and is active in more than 3,500 communities nationwide.

In addition to entry-level scholarships, Scholarship America awards renewable multi-year scholarships, as well as emergency financial grants – both of which provide students with the financial assistance they need to complete their college degree.

To learn more about Scholarship America, visit

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Teresa McFarland

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About Scholarship America
Scholarship America is a national education service organization that mobilizes support for students getting into and graduating from college. Scholarship America has distributed more than $2.5 billion in scholarship assistance to more than 1.7 million students over the last 50 years. Scholarship America’s programs, which include Dollars for Scholars®, help fund both entry-level and multi-year scholarships, as well as emergency financial grants. More information is available at

The Dream Award

Dream Award Scholarship America’s Dream Award is a renewable scholarship fund targeted toward completion. These annually-increasing awards will be given to students selected from across the nation who are entering their second year of education beyond high school.

Success By Degrees

Scholarship America's blog, Success By Degrees, covers items of interest to parents, volunteers, educators and anyone interested in the big issues surrounding education, financial aid and postsecondary success. You'll find policy announcements, news releases and more, every week!

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Nearly 1/4 of the U.S. population owes a collective $700 billion in student loan debt. We are committed to helping more students graduate from college with less debt. A gift of just $1 a day -- for a week, for a month, or for a year -- can help ensure that students are able to achieve their goals.

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