Much like Alice (of Wonderland fame), the cost of higher education continues to grow and grow and grow. Luckily there is financial help available, and not just for the best students—you just have to know where to look.
1. Meat-Eating Orators
If the idea of public speaking makes you break out in a flop sweat, skip this paragraph. However, if you've got a flair for presentation and you're not a vegetarian, you might want to look into the National Beef Ambassador Program—"a national, competitive youth public speaking program for the beef industry." Each year five winners each get a $1,000 cash prize, a $750 scholarship, and the opportunity to travel across the U.S.
2. Outspoken Vegetarians
If you are a vegetarian, however, there's cash out there for you, too. The Vegetarian Resource Group offers two $5,000 scholarships annually to graduating high school seniors who not only abstain from eating meat, fish and fowl, but also who actively promote vegetarianism in their school or community. Of course, it's not as easy as simply filling out an application—you'll also have to write a compelling essay detailing the whys and wherefores of your anti-steak stance.
3. Ayn Rand Enthusiasts
Is your copy of Atlas Shrugged thoroughly dog-eared? Do your friends run screaming when you attempt to debate objectivism versus existentialism? If you're a high school junior or senior and a budding philosopher, you could win up to $10,000 from the Ayn Rand Institute in their annual Fountainhead essay contest. You can even submit your entry via an online form, in case you wait until the last minute to meet the April 26, 2010 deadline.
Have you ever worked as a caddy? More specifically, have you caddied for two years and would you be willing to continue to work as one during your summer break once you're in college? Over 200 students annually who meet the qualifications receive tuition and housing grants from the Evans Scholars Foundation.
5. Tall People
Are you 5'10" or taller but not athletically inclined enough to win a basketball scholarship? It may be worth your while to check out the Tall Clubs International website to see if you qualify for one of their $1,000 scholarships. They do have some fairly stringent requirements, one of which involves being recommended by a TCI member, so now is the time to cultivate some tall friendships.
6. Short People
On the other end of the height scale, college-bound students who have been diagnosed with some form of dwarfism may be eligible for a $1,000 award from the Billy Barty Foundation.
7. Future Welders of America
According to this recent article in the Wall Street Journal, even though manufacturing jobs are decreasing in the United States, some specifically skilled tradespeople like welders are in high demand and short supply. If carrying a torch interests you, check out the financial aid program offered by the American Welding Society, which includes tuition, books and supplies.
Certainly most high school seniors are concerned about their future, but how much more worrying are your possibilities if you suffer from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder? There is assistance for post-secondary education available for mental health patients, as long as you're under proper medical care and adhering to your doctor's advice. The Lilly Reintegration Scholarship Program offers financial help for tuition, books and lab fees for qualified applicants.
9. Budding Writers Considering Ursinus College
Are you an aspiring writer planning to attend Ursinus College? Have you never heard of Ursinus College but would be willing to enroll if offered a four-year, $30,000 scholarship? The administrators of the Creative Writing Award (formerly the J.D. Salinger Scholarship Award) realize that the best writers are not always the best scholars, and that SAT scores aren't the be-all, end-all. The winner of this prestigious, renewable scholarship also gets the bonus of lodging in Salinger's third floor room in Curtis Hall.
10. The Michael Scotts of Tomorrow
Most of us don't realize the many roles paper products play in our daily lives. From newspapers to packing cartons to pizza boxes to facial tissue to envelopes, pulp is much more than paperback fiction. The Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry offers the annual William L. Cullison Scholarship worth up to $4,000 to students planning to attend an accredited school to major in some form of paper curriculum.