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Funding for niche scholars...

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Financing one's education can be a frustrating nexus of half and full nelsons. If you're lucky, you'll graduate hungover and delivered into the patient, staid lap of Ms. Sallie Mae. But maybe you won't owe Ms. Mae and her general aegis as much if you can just score one of these unusual scholarships. When I was mired in high school, I never qualified for the ones that were offered to me as an afterthought in my father's employee benefits manual (i.e. I wasn't quite callused or left-brained enough for Maritime Academy). Alas. But here are some highlights of FinAid's weird scholarship index:

  • The National Make It Yourself with Wool Competition, which will award prizes of $1 & $2k "based on the appropriateness to the contestant's lifestyle, coordination of fabric/yarn with garment style and design, contestant's presentation, and creativity."
  • The Duck Brand Duct Tape Stuck at Prom Contest, which rewards teens who attend their proms, yes, attired completely in duct tape: "The winning couple will be selected based on a variety of criteria, including originality, workmanship, quantity of Duck Tape used, use of colors, and creative use of accessories."
  • The J.D. Salinger Award, given to an incoming freshman at Ursinus College, J.D.'s alma mater, and: "Candidates must be nominated by a high school teacher or guidance counselor for their 'quirky brilliance'." And! "The winner will also get to live in the same dorm room previously occupied by Mr. Salinger."
  • Ok, this one is restricted to the barely-tween set, but it's funny & the winner gets $10,000: The Jif Most Creative Peanut Butter Sandwich Contest

Anyone out there a recipient of a fringe scholarship you'd like to share?

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Tulane University Offers Free Semester to Students Affected by Hurricane Maria
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As Puerto Rico continues to assess the damage left by Hurricane Maria last month, one American institution is offering displaced residents some long-term hope. Tulane University in New Orleans is waiving next semester’s tuition fees for students enrolled at Puerto Rican colleges prior to the storm, Forbes reports.

From now until November 1, students whose studies were disrupted by Maria can apply for one of the limited spots still open for Tulane’s spring semester. And while guests won’t be required to pay Tulane's fees, they will still be asked to pay tuition to their home universities as Puerto Rico rebuilds. Students from other islands recovering from this year’s hurricane season, like St. Martin and the U.S. Virgin Islands, are also welcome to submit applications.

Tulane knows all too well the importance of community support in the wake of disaster. The campus was closed for all of the 2005 fall semester as New Orleans dealt with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. During that time, schools around the world opened their doors to Tulane students who were displaced. The university wrote in a blog post, “It’s now our turn to pay it forward and assist students in need.”

Students looking to study as guests at Tulane this spring can fill out this form to apply.

[h/t Forbes]

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Pablo, a Groundbreaking New BBC Series, Teaches Kids About Autism
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Autism spectrum disorder affects one in 68 kids in the U.S., but there’s still a lot of confusion surrounding the nature of the condition and what it feels like to have it. As BuzzFeed reports, a new British children’s program aims to teach viewers about autism while showing kids on the spectrum characters and stories to which they can relate.

Pablo, which premiered on the BBC’s kids’ network CBeebies earlier this month, follows a 5-year-old boy as he navigates life with autism. The show uses two mediums: At the start of an episode, Pablo is played by a live actor and faces everyday scenarios, like feeling overstimulated by a noisy birthday party. When he’s working out the conflict in his head, Pablo is depicted as an animated doodle accompanied by animal friends like Noa the dinosaur and Llama the llama.

Each character illustrates a different facet of autism spectrum disorder: Noa loves problem-solving but has trouble reading facial expression, while Llama notices small details and likes repeating words she hears. On top of demonstrating the diversity of autism onscreen, the show depends on individuals with autism behind the scenes as well. Writers with autism contribute to the scripts and all of the characters are voiced by people with autism.

“It’s more than television,” the show’s creator Gráinne McGuinness said in a short documentary about the series. “It’s a movement that seeks to build awareness internationally about what it might be like to see the world from the perspective of someone with autism.”

Pablo can be watched in the UK on CBeebies or globally on the network's website.

[h/t BuzzFeed]


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