60 Effed-Up Ways to Pay Your Tuition
A scholarship is a grant of financial aid awarded to a student for the purpose of attending a college or university.
They come in many shapes and sizes and for many different reasons. The author of the award may decide they want to encourage students from a Polish background to pursue careers in civil engineering.
Or, another person who is a motorcycle enthusiast may want to promote their love of motorcycles and offer a scholarship award for $1,000 for anyone who can prove they own and ride a Harley Davidson.
This person will then create the scholarship and add the following items:
- Amount of award
- Deadline for the application
- How often the award is available
- The purpose of the award
- Phone number
- Email address
- Physical address of the scholarship
- Questions pertaining to
- How to apply
- How they prefer their submission
Examine the web page carefully. You will almost always find what they consider the “target applicant” on that page. That will tell you if applying for the scholarship is a waste of time.
There are billions of dollars of scholarships available to students that go unclaimed each year. There are millions of dollars more that become available each year that continue to go unclaimed.
Scholars Fund always asks this question: With all of this money waiting to be used, why don’t students use this money? We came up with three basic answers.
- They said paying for college is not their responsibility. That burden was their parents’ and their parents’ alone.
- Scholarships are for the super smart and since they, the students we spoke to, do not fit that category, looking for scholarships became a waste of their time.
- Getting student loans is so much easier. The loan representatives practically jam that application into your face everywhere on college campus. Generally, there is a one page application and then the tuition is paid.
Scholars Fund was created to help fight those false notions. Anyone can get a scholarship for tuition. There are three basic types of scholarships: Need, merit, and association based awards.
Since the merit based award is the one most students think of, we will begin with that one.
Merit based awards are generally given to students to help promote excellence in a certain field of study. For example, a student with a 4.0 GPA with perfect standardized scores may receive a full scholarship to go to Cambridge University and study biochemistry. These scholarships usually carry an extra stipend to give the student extra spending money.
The merit scholarship is given to students who deserve it.
The needs based scholarship is given after the FAFSA has been completely filled out and evaluated. The American government uses this document to determine how much funds you will get each year you are in college. It is usually not enough to cover the entire cost of tuition. Those funds are frequently supplemented by loans. They can also be supplemented by other scholarships. The American government helps via the Pell Grant. There are more need based awards given by others. As stated above, these committees will usually ask for the FAFSA before giving you the award. At times they may require proof of good grades.
Scholars Fund is of the opinion that there should be a new scholarship category created for the awards that will be discussed below. As stated elsewhere in this blog, awards can be as varied as fingerprints. The person creating the scholarship can do it for no other reason than they want to help someone go to school. The reasons this individual chooses can range from a blue sky to a wet ocean floor. Usually it is because that person or persons wants to advance a cause that is dear to their heart. All of this means that you, reader, can create a scholarship. It is not hard. Just like with anything that is done in the United States, there are regulations for all types of things except for wanting to give to help another human being.
The scholarships discussed below should be in the category of crazy, looney, or just plain nuts. The author of this post is grateful that there are such people on Earth who want to help a student.
60 of the Weirdest College Scholarships
- Wholesale Halloween Costumes Scholarship: $500. College students from freshmen to graduate students are eligible for this award. All they need to do is document themselves carving a pumpkin as well as send in an image of the final product to be entered; time lapse videos of the carving will also be accepted. #HalloweenMemes
- American Association for Nude Recreation Education Foundation: Award varies. Let it all hang out and apply to this scholarship if you have nudist experience (#nojudgment) and concern for nudist issues like skin cancer, body image, nudist art and literature, and the tiny issue of just getting public acceptance of nudism. #Nudists
- The Gertrude J. Deppen Scholarship: Award varies. Available at Bucknell University, this scholarship is offered to students who honor the memory of its namesake by abstaining from drugs and alcohol, as well as being graduates of Mount Carmel Public High School, residents of Mount Carmel (Pennsylvania) for at least 10 years, and not involved in “strenuous athletic contests.” #LowKeyLadies
- Mycological Society of America Scholarships: Award varies. Scholarships up to $10,000 are available to students in various specialties who study mycology, the study of fungi, aka a delicious pizza topping. #Mushrooms
- Prom Guide’s Cutest Couple Contest: $1,000. Are you and your S.O. just the cuuuutest? If you are (according to Instagram votes on your prom pic) you might snag this award from Prom Guide magazine. #Cutest
- Hiram College Hal Reichle Scholarship: Award varies. This scholarship is offered by the sweet and quirky Secret Society of Serendipitous Service to Hal, or SSSSH, dedicated to anonymous good deeds. It’s awarded to students who are dedicated to community service, just like its namesake. #Nice
- Tattoo Journal Ink Scholarship: Up to $1,800. This isn’t your typical essay contest. Instead you get to write about the myth and reality of tattooing. This scholarships has first, second, and third place awards, so you have three chances to win! #Inked
- American Board of Funeral Service Education National Scholarship Program: $2,500. You know, working with dead people really isn’t that bad. It’s quiet, it’s consistent, and practically no other job is as stable (except maybe being a tax preparer). If you’ve completed at least one semester or quarter in an accredited funeral service or mortuary science program, you’re eligible for this scholarship. #DeadPeople
- American Association of Candy Technologists John Kitt Memorial Scholarship: $5,000. This sweet deal is available to college sophomores, juniors, and seniors with a food science¿related major and a “demonstrated interest in confectionery technology.” (We’re guessing your epic love of Sour Patch Kids doesn’t count.) #Candy
- American Society for Enology and Viticulture Scholarship: Award varies. Winemaking is a lucrative, unique, and deeeeelicious business. Students studying the wine and grape industries are eligible for this annual award. #Wine
- The Asparagus Club Scholarship: $2,000. You don’t have to love asparagus to join the venerable Asparagus Club or to win one of its biannual scholarships. But you do need to be an upperclassman or grad student studying to become an independent grocer. #Groceries
- Branson Shows Inspired Scholarship: $1,000. Branson, Missouri, is known for its all-American entertainment, and this ticket seller offers an annual scholarship for students inspired by those family-friendly performers like Presley’s Country Jubilee, Dixie Stampede, and the Good Ole Boys. All you have to do is write an essay about “How (*Enter Your Show*) Inspired Me to Realize My Dreams.” #BransonMO
- Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest: $2,000. Can you quack with the best of them? Can you speak to the mallards? Take your skills to this classic contest, named for legendary duck callers and duck call makers. #DuckCalling
- Chick Evans Caddie Scholarship: Award varies. This scholarship covers full tuition and housing and is renewable for four years, so all those days of lugging heavy bags around the links might finally pay for golf caddies everywhere. Winners must demonstrate financial need, great grades, and outstanding character…in addition to a “strong caddie record.” #GolfCaddies
- Collegiate Inventors Competition: Award varies. College students, you can turn your (or your team’s) original and brilliant invention into cash money! And it’s actual cash money too; it’s not a traditional scholarship paid to your college. As long as your idea hasn’t been made or shared commercially or patented, you’re eligible. #Inventions
- Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest: $10,000. Wishing you the best in creating your own creative greeting card, to be voted on and judged by a panel of experts. Sincerely, CollegeXpress. #GreetingCards
- com Scholarship for Aggressive Scholarship Applicants: $500. When we say “aggressive,” we don’t mean rude or rough. Rather, this scholarship is to award you for applying to as many other scholarships as you can…which we recommend doing anyway. You simply need to submit your confirmation emails. #MetaScholarship
- Doodle 4 Google Scholarship: $30,000. You know your favorite part of Googling stuff is seeing if there’s a fun new Google Doodle to play with that day! Well, you can be part of that and win a college scholarship by submitting a Doodle of your own to the Doodle 4 Google scholarship competition. #GoogleDoodles
- American Fire Sprinkler Association Scholarship: $2,000. So, first you need to read the “Fire Sprinkler Essay.” Then you take a 10-question multiple-choice test about the essay. Then you get a scholarship. Woo! (Okay, there’s a basic application too, but it’s not too crazy.) #FireSprinklers
- com Hit the Books Scholarship: $500. A short 500 words or fewer about the role of education in your life through the lens of why you love coffee can get you $500. Invigorating! #CoffeeIsLife
- Miller Electric International WorldSkills Competition Scholarship: $40,000. Are you a would-be welder? The grand prize winner of the biannual US Weld Trial Competition is eligible for $10,000 over four years of a welding-related educational or training program. #Welding
- School Band and Orchestra Magazine Scholarship: $1,000. Put down your oboe and take some time to respond to SBO Magazine’s scholarship essay prompt for your shot at free money for college! The 2020 theme for this annual award is “How has playing an instrument changed for you during the pandemic?”” #Band
- National Potato Council Scholarship: $10,000. The National Potato Council awards this hefty scholarship annually to a graduate student pursuing advanced study in agribusiness that enhances the potato industry. #Potatoes
- Charlie and Kathy Barnhart and Ken Haynes, Jr. Manufactured Housing Association Scholarship Program: $1,000. Do you call a mobile or manufactured home, erm, home? You might be eligible for this scholarship! #MobileHomes
- Illuminating Engineering Society Scholarships: Award varies. Are you dedicated to good lighting? The folks at the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America certainly are. And if you can demonstrate your skill and vision for the craft and commitment to pursuing illumination as a career, you could snag one of their scholarships. #Lights
- Rolex European Scholarship: $25,000. Are you part mermaid? If your college studies bring you underwater at all, whether it’s for research, aquatourism, photography, even underwater welding, you might be eligible for this scholarship for “underwater-related” disciplines. #Underwater
- Shout It Out Scholarship: $1,500. “If you could say one thing to the entire world at once, what would it be and why?” Provided you can say it in 250 words or fewer, you could snag this straightforward scholarship. #ShoutingButNotReally
- Starfleet Academy Scholarships: $1,000. Starfleet, if you’re unfamiliar, is a fan club run by The International Star Trek Fan Association, Inc. And Trekkies attending basically any accredited technical, undergraduate, or graduate institution are eligible for this award, provided they’ve been Starfleet members for at least one year. #StarTrek
- Duck Brand Duct Tape Stuck on Prom Contest: $10,000. You knew duct tape was useful around the house, but you’ll be shocked to see just how pretty it can be! All it takes is a little creativity, an eye for fashion, and upwards of 50 rolls of duct tape and 100 hours of time. No bigs. #DuctTapeProm
- Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry William L. Cullison Scholarship: $4,000. If you get more excited about the Amazon.com box than the goodies inside it, this might be the scholarship for you. It’s for incoming college juniors in an academic path related to the pulp, paper, corrugated, and converting industries. #Paper
- Tall Clubs International Scholarship: $1,000. Serving the (financial) needs of “exceptionally tall people,” Tall Clubs International awards its scholarships to students who meet its minimum height requirements: 5′ 10″ (178 cm) for women and 6′ 2″ (188 cm) for men. #Tall
- Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship: $10,000. If you think animals are friends, not food, and you advocate for them in your high school or community, you may be eligible for this award! #Vegetarian
- Zolp Scholarship: Award varies. All you have to be is a Catholic student with the last name of Zolp attending Loyola University Chicago to qualify. #GotTheRightLastName
- Zombie Apocalypse Scholarship: $2,000. Quick: the streets are full of the undead (bummer). What’s your plan?! If you can convince the scholarship judges you’re ready to survive a zombie fallout, you could win enough money to stock your underground shelter for at least a few months. #Zombies
- National Marbles Tournament Scholarship: $2,000: “Mibsters” (aka marble shooters) between the ages of 7 and 14 compete in the annual National Marbles Tournament for scholarship dollars. And for the chance to be crowned the King or Queen of Marbles (which we think is even better). #Marbles
- Parapsychological Association Research Endowment: $5,000. Parapsychology is the study of “psychic phenomena,” such as paranormal activity, telepathy, clairvoyance, and psychokinesis. Students researching these topics, with or without the assistance of a crystal ball or Ouija board (j/k…probably), are eligible for grants from the Parapsychological Association. #SpookyScary
- Society of Vacuum Coaters Foundation Scholarship: $2,500. This award can fund your venerable vacuum coating technology studies at an accredited technical, vocational, two-year, undergraduate, or graduate school. #VacuumCoatingIsAThing
- UNIMA (Union Internationale de la Marionnette-USA) Scholarship: $1,000. Studying to become a puppeteer? If you’re a member of the Union Internationale de la Marionnette’s US chapter, are 18 years or older, and have demonstrated experience in puppetry, you might be able to snag this award. #Puppets
- A Voice For Cats Essay Contest Scholarship 2020: $1,000. Calling all cat lovers! This essay scholarship gives you the chance to write about feline welfare. And even better, you’ll win $1,000 for school and another $1,000 to be donated to an organization of your choice. #CatPeople
- The George Blood Women in Audiovisual Archiving and Technology Scholarship: $4,000. If you’re a lady who likes archiving audiovisuals (yes, you read that correctly) then this is the scholarship for you! #OldVideos
- Gamers Helping Gamers Scholarship: $5,000. If you can wax poetic about your love for Magic: The Gathering (specifically, about the impact the game has had on your life and your favorite and least favorite cards) and you have financial need, you’re eligible for this enchanted scholarship. #MagicTheGathering
- Clowns of America, International Scholarship: Award varies. Planning to go to clown college…or at least a family-friendly entertainment educational program that runs for a minimum of 10 hours? You can apply for this scholarship from the Clowns of America, International. #Clowns
- The Helen McCloy/MWA Scholarship for Mystery Writing: $500. It was the butler in the parlor with the knife! Okay, your mystery writing is probably way better than ours, which is why you should grab one of your manuscripts and apply for this scholarship. You’ll need to prove you’re in an appropriate writing class or program, in addition to a few other application requirements. #Mystery
- John Gatling Scholarship: $60,000. Students with the surname Gatlin or Gatling who plan to attend NC State University can take advantage of this generous alumnus’ namesake scholarship. It’s worth $10k a year for state residents or $15k for non-residents, and it’s renewable for up to four years! #GotTheRightLastName
- Brilliance Scholarship: $1,500. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but the ability to design the most creative diamond ring is worth real money. Students in any discipline can submit their own original diamond ring design and a brief write-up of their inspiration for a chance at this scholarship. #DiamondRings
- Discover Scholarship Award: $5,000. “No purchase or student loan necessary to enter or win.” That’s what we like to see! Not only is this scholarship super easy to enter, but you can earn up to three bonus entries when you share it via social media. #Easy
- Halloween Costume Scholarship: $1,000. Everyone loves a good Halloween costume. So just tell MoneySolver what your favorite costume you ever wore was to enter, or better yet, tell them your favorite costume for your pet! #HappyHalloween
- Make Me Laugh Scholarship: $1,500. All this odd scholarship requires is a 250-word essay describing an incident in your life, funny or embarrassing (fact or fiction). #Embarrassing
- Rodeo Enthusiast Scholarship: $500. Applicants must be currently enrolled at an accredited US university and write an essay describing their experience with attending or interest in rodeo. #Cowboy
- Superpower Scholarship: $2,500. Have you ever thought about what super hero or villain you would be if you could swap places with one? Well, you can win money just by writing a short essay response about it! #WithGreatPower
- DoSomething’s Easy Scholarships: Amount varies. Okay, this isn’t just one scholarship. But these awards come and go fast, so you need to keep an eye on them! Luckily, they’re so weird and fun (and generous) you won’t have trouble jumping on the opportunities. Past awards include things like writing a rap for your favorite teacher, designing finger puppets, and giving your friends homemade coupon books. Plus, these scholarship raise awareness of important issues like teacher appreciation, texting while driving, and supporting friends with depression. #Easy
- The Frederick and Mary F. Beckley Left Handed Scholarship: $1,500. Only one college in the world (that we know of) offers a scholarship for left-handed students: Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Other scholarship requirements include academic excellence and involvement. #Lefty
- Lake Erie College Twins Scholarship: Award varies. Twins (and families of twins), this is the college tuition twofer you’ve been looking for. It’s a full tuition scholarship awarded 50/50 if both twin students are enrolled full-time. #Twins
- Monarch Butterfly Scholarship Grant: $4,345 approximate value. This isn’t your traditional scholarship where you get the money to put toward your studies. National Habitat Adventures will send two winners on a six-day trip to the Kingdom of Monarchs tour in Mexico. #SpreadYourWings
- Pokémon World Championship Scholarship: Award varies. And you thought you wanted to play in the Pokémon World Championship just for the lifetime prestige and bragging rights. You can also go home with a scholarship that’s good until your 28th birthday or 10 years from the day you win. Gotta catch ’em all! #Pokémon
- Sheep Heritage Foundation Memorial Scholarship: $3,000. Τhe American Sheep Industry Association awards this scholarship to graduate students in sheep-related studies that advance the lamb and wool industry. Mary had a little scholarship… #Sheep
- STS Travel “I Have a Plan!” Scholarship: $1,000. How would you reach, well, you? STS Travel, a student travel company, will award $1,000 to the student with the most creative and feasible plan for marketing to other students. Meta. #Travel
- The Ukulele Festival Hawaii College Scholarship Program: $3,000. Students living in Hawaii can win this scholarship just by having a passion for the ukulele, possessing strong character, and providing meaningful community service. #UkeLove
- Fifth Month Scholarship: $1,500. What does the number five mean to you? Tell Unigo why it’s important in 250 words or fewer to win this easy award. You may want to talk about the fifth month of the year (May) because they’re big fans! #NumberFive
- Flavor of the Month Scholarship: $1,500. “If you were an ice cream flavor, which would you be and why?” You can scoop up another scholarship from Unigo by answering that prompt in a short and sweet 250-word essay. #IceCream
Want more information on how this list was compiled? Find out more here.
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