Hannah Hurst, Staff Writer
Parents across America are beginning to notice that their schooling cost a lot less than what they are having to hash out now for their own kids wanting to pursue a higher education.
Debt.org reports that the class of 2017 will acquire an estimated $37,172 in debt after they graduate. In the last eight years, the amount of money that students borrow for college has nearly doubled. In this year alone, college students have taken out an astounding $1.4 trillion in school-related debt altogether. With all of this debt so rapidly overpowering students wallets, it's no surprise that various companies have established new financial aid programs creating more and more scholarship opportunities for students.
Here are 10 unusual scholarship opportunities that might surprise you, and don’t panic; there are no long essays are required.
Fanatic fans of Star Trek have established “The world’s largest Star Trek fan club” appropriately called, “Starfleet.” For non-Trekkies, Starfleet is also the name of an agency that conducts research, serves as a strong defense force and also reinforces diplomacy for the United Federation of Planets within the Star Trek Universe. Starfleet offers students scholarship money for five different areas of study: engineering and technology, artistic, medicine and veterinary, business/management/education and miscellaneous.
Award: up to $1,000
Year: enrolled in any college
Requirements: Students must have been a member of Starfleet for at least one year before they apply.
An organization called Tall Clubs International seeks “to promote tall awareness among tall men and women, and in the community.” Fortunately for tall students, this means scholarship money. TCI will award several students with this scholarship every year.
Year: first year in college
Requirements: Must be taller than 5’10 for women and 6’2 for men.
Students who don’t enjoy writing essays should check out this scholarship opportunity. The Gallery Collection is looking for eager artists to submit their favorite card design. Granted the freedom to craft cards ranging from Christmas to anniversary to birthday and sympathy themes, students' designs must include all original work. All students submissions will go through a voting process to determine the winner.
Award: $10,000 in addition to $1,000 rewarded to the school
Year: 14 years or older
Requirements: Submit a JPEG of your artwork to their website.
Students hoping to attend Juniata College in Pennsylvania have the opportunity to win scholarship money just for being left-handed. Juniata College claims that over 40 left-handed students have received this scholarship since 1979.
Award: $1,000 - $1,500
Year: sophomore, junior or senior in college
Requirements: Students must be left-handed, have academic success and need financial aid.
Some scholarships apply only to students studying a specific subject. For example, Since 1990, The Asparagus Club has been graciously awarding 10 scholarships per year to students wishing to start a career in grocery retail.
Award: $2,500 per semester
Year: Rising juniors, seniors, or graduate students
Requirements: Pursue a degree in food management or business, maintain a 2.5 GPA.
Here's another scholarship that applies to students from a specific field of study. Students who appreciate funeral science should submit an application with The American Board of Funeral Service Education for their chance to receive some extra money. Although competition grows each year, The American Board of Funeral Service Education claims that half of their applicants receive some degree of financial aid. On their website, The American Board of Funeral Service Education seeks to educate students and answer questions such as “Why get a job in the funeral service?” and “What type of person becomes a funeral director?”
Awards = $500 - $2,500
Requirements: Complete one semester in a mortuary science program.
High school students who want to get a headstart on paying off their college tuition and love design should participate in Stuck at Prom. Don’t bother spending hundreds of dollars on a prom dress that you can only show off once or twice. Instead, construct your own prom dress using duct tape. You don’t even need a date to win this scholarship. Just send in a picture of your home-made dress.
Award: 1st place winner receives $10,000
Year: 14 years or older, and attend high school
Requirements: Submit a photo of at prom in your duct tape dress. All of the dress and accessories must be crafted from duct tape.
Now you finally have a good excuse for training up your Pokemon. Tell your parents the more time you spend strengthening your team, the more money you could win. Competitors battling each other in the Pokémon world championship have the opportunity to win scholarships money, cash, and travel certificates.
Award: 1st place winner receives $25,000 reward for the card game competition / 1st place winner receives $10,000 for the video game competition
Year: 12 years old and up.
If you love fall and carving pumpkins then you should apply soon for this Wholesale Halloween Costume scholarship opportunity. Judges will pick a pumpkin that demonstrates creativity, originality, and quality. You might as well get rewarded for your favorite fall traditions.
Year: enrolled in college
Requirements: Send an email including pictures/timelapse of your carved pumpkin.
Last but certainly not least, be sure to check out this scholarship from Debt.com. Dubbed as the “scholarship for aggressive scholarship applicants,” this scholarship definitely stands apart from others. All you have to do - apply to as many scholarships as you can. The best part -- winners are picked every two months.
Year: enrolled in college
Requirements: Apply for any scholarship you can, send proof of the confirmation email, write a short letter describing yourself.