Unique Scholarship Opportunities for Future College Students

The continual rise in college tuition costs has left many students and parents looking for alternatives for funding.

Average tuition costs rose by 4 percent in 2012 at four-year colleges, according to the College Board. An in-state, four-year degree now costs about $17,860; while an out-of-state degree is almost $40,000.

Federal budget cuts have forced many states to reduce the funds they allocate per student, to the tune of $2,500 since 2008, according to the Center of Budget Policy and Priorities.

The March 1 “sequester” cut work study, military tuition assistance, and Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants by a total of about $870 per year for those who rely on them, according to a report by the Student Aid Alliance.

The traditional route of filing a FAFSA and hoping to get enough money to pay for higher education is no longer enough for most Americans. Scholarships are a near necessity, especially for lower-income families and single-parent homes.

There are many opportunities out there for students to earn a large chunk of their tuition and fees. You just have to put forth a little extra effort to find them.

JFK Profile In Courage Essay Contest

This contest, named after President John F. Kennedy’s 1956 book, is open to all current high school students, regardless of grade-level or school type. Student under the age of 20 currently enrolled in a GED program are also eligible. The contest requires students to write an essay about an elected U.S. official who chose the path of courage as opposed to political pandering.

Kennedy’s book, which students can read to get story ideas, chronicled eight United States senators who stood up for what they believed in and put their political careers at risk to do the right thing. For instance, former congressman Ron Paul, R-Texas, consistently and steadfastly encouraged a monetary system based more on US Money Reserve gold and silver throughout his 30-year career, as opposed to the fiat system of today. He also staunchly opposed all overseas wars, which caused many voters to call him “kooky” and even crazy.

The winner receives a $10,000 prize and is presented the award at the Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. The second-place winner receives $1,000, and $500 is awarded to the remaining entrants who submitted exceptional work.

Create-A-Greeting Card Scholarship

The Gallery Collection opened up its 7th Annual Create-A-Greeting-Card contest that will run through January 15, 2014. The contest is open to all high school, college, and universities students, as long as they are age 35 or under. Students must create a drawing, painting, or some other work of art which is suitable for a business or personal greeting card.

A unique photograph taken by the student is also acceptable (though a photo has never won the contest). One winner is awarded the $10,000 scholarship. The odds are long, but definitely worth a try for those with the ability to draw.

C-SPAN StudentCam Documentary Competition

The theme for the 2013 competition was a message to the President of the United States, asking him what is the most important issue he should tackle in the upcoming year. The documentary must be between five and eight minutes long, and include some C-SPAN footage as a source. There are 75 students awarded each year, with the top prize being $5,000. All students from grades six to 12 are eligible. Teams of two or three students are also acceptable as entries.

This is just a small sampling of the thousands of scholarship opportunities available. Do not limit yourself to just this list.

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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