As the cost of higher education continues to rise, more students face the financial struggle of affording it.
While many college-bound individuals take out loans to cover the costs, there are other ways to help pay for college without the debt burden, mainly scholarships. The problem is many people feel they don’t have the grades or talent to qualify.
But, those two factors are not the only criteria for getting a scholarship.
There are multiple scholarships for college students available for those who weren’t at the top of their class, leads in the school play, or the star athletes in high school. Here are five you can apply for right now.
1. $2,000 ‘No Essay’ Scholarship
No essay, no GPA minimums, just money to cover tuition, housing, books, or any education-related expenses.
Offered by Niche, a website that analyzes public data to review schools and colleges, the $2,000 scholarship is open to all high school, college and graduate students and those planning to enroll within 12 months.
All you have to do is register on their website for free and enter. A new winner is chosen every month randomly, and you’re allowed to enter once per month.
How To Apply
Deadline: The last day of every month
Available to: Students must currently attend — or within the next 12 months plan to enroll in — a high school or college listed on Niche, or be the parent of a student who falls into one of those categories. It only states that one entry per person is allowed each month, so you and your parent could apply.
As the title of the scholarship states, you don’t need to write an essay and no GPA is specified. You must simply enter through their website.
Winners are selected via a random drawing about two weeks after the last day of the month and will be notified by mail, telephone, posting on Facebook, or e-mail, within 10 days of drawing date.
2. $1,000 Gen and Kelly Tanabe Scholarship
The only thing required to win this $1,000 scholarship — named after Gen and Kelly Tanabe, the award-winning authors of eleven books on admission and scholarships — is a 250 word or less personal essay.
Your GPA will not be considered. You must be in high school, or a student in college or graduate school and a legal U.S. resident.
According to the website, “the goal is to create a level field where students have complete control over their applications and are not given an advantage or disadvantage based on financial or academic circumstances.”
How To Apply
Deadline: Dec. 31, 2017, Midnight
Available to: Ninth- to 12th-grade, college, or graduate student including adult students.
Simply fill out the answer to one of three essay questions — why do you deserve to win this scholarship, describe your academic or career goals, or any topic of your choice — and a committee will choose the best answers. The first place award is $1,000; you use the money for any education expenses, including tuition, room and board, and more.
Winners will be notified approximately four weeks after the deadline.
3. High School Senior College Scholarship Contest
Who knew your fire sprinkler could help you go to college? Yes, the American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) — a nonprofit representing fire sprinkler contractors dedicated to the educational advancement of its members — started a scholarship program where they offer 10 winners $2,000 in tuition assistance.
Their mission is to also “educate the public at-large about the life-saving properties of automatic fire sprinklers” and therefore part of the application is to take a short quiz after reading an article about the industry of fire sprinklers.
The selection does not take financial need, GPA, or demographics into consideration. The only requirements are that you must enroll for classes beginning no later than the Fall 2018 semester and take a short quiz.
How To Apply
Deadline: April 1, 2018
Available to: High school seniors enrolled for the Fall 2018 semester
All you need to do to enter is fill in your education and contact information, and take a short quiz. A random computer-generated drawing selects the winners.
AFSA will contact each winner by email and phone within 14 business days of contest end-date. The prize will then be sent directly to the college or university where you’ll be attending.
4. Shout It Out Scholarship
Are you the student who always gets told to quiet down in class? Well, there’s a scholarship just for you. Unigo, a college and scholarship search website, started their own scholarship where they encourage you to speak out.
Applicants have up to 250 words to say whatever they want creatively and memorably. The “loudest” person will win $1,500 for college expenses.
How To Apply
Deadline: Sept. 30, 2018
Available to: Students must be 13 years or older and currently enrolled (or enroll no later than the fall of 2024) in an accredited post-secondary institution of higher education
To enter, you must answer the following question in 250 words or less: If you could say one thing to the entire world at once, what would it be and why? A qualified panel of judges will select one potential winner based on the criteria of writing ability (25 percent), creativity (25 percent), originality (25 percent), and overall excellence (25 percent).
The winner will be notified by email or phone toward the end of December 2018.
5. Student Loan Hero $5K Scholarship
Of course, a website dedicated to helping students afford college and pay back student loan debt has a scholarship for average students.
Yes, Student Loan Hero awards two $5,000 scholarships each semester to help alleviate educational costs and no minimum GPA is required.
How To Apply
Deadline: Dec. 25, 2017
Available to: Participants must be 18 years of age or older and enrolled at an eligible educational institution.
To enter, you must write an essay in 500 words or less answering this question: What financial challenges have you overcome growing up? How have they shaped your goals and career aspirations?
A panel consisting of four personal finance professionals will judge the essays. Each essay will receive a score based on clarity of writing and organization, grammatical correctness, relevance to the prompt question, and creativity and thoughtfulness.
Winners will be notified by Jan. 2, 2018.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2019!
|1 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.
* Application times vary depending on the applicants ability to supply the necessary information for submission.
2 Important Disclosures for CollegeAve.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or Nationwide Bank, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Information advertised valid as of 1/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
3 Important Disclosures for Discover.
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
4 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
5 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
SunTrust Bank, Member FDIC. ©2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Additional terms and conditions apply. For more details see LendKey
7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.
Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.
Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.
Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|4.25% – 13.25%1||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.07% – 12.78%2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.84% – 13.49%3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.62% – 11.47%*,4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.38% – 13.38%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|5.85% – 6.99%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.93% – 9.81%7||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.48% – 12.35%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|