When young people envision their futures, they often think of being a doctor, engineer, lawyer..etc. A lot of them go through middle school and high school dreaming about the day they go to college. Some of them may even work extra hard to improve their academic and physical abilities to qualify for scholarships. In many cases though, reality sets in. Only when we grow up do we realize how ridiculously expensive higher education is in America. To paint the picture, there are over 46 million Americans with student debts.
Granted we have some of the best schools in the whole world. These schools produce some of the most brilliant minds the world has to offer. But considering the sheer financial cost of going to one of those schools, one can totally understand why many Americans will avoid sending their kids to college. Let’s talk about those student debts. When offering student loans, banks charge super-high interest rates. On average, many banks will charge undergrad students a fixed 3.73% interest rate. Students will sign those loan agreements when they’re only 17 or 18 years old. After that, borrowers spend years or even decades paying back the loan, plus interest.
So, the question is: how can we go to college without spending the rest of our lives in debt? This question has a long list of answers. But, the main conclusion is that it’s actually possible. However, to find the answer that fits your situation best, you’ll need to do proper research. There are plenty of scholarship programs and grants out there. Understandably the competition for these programs can be pretty fierce. But, if you take the time to learn about all of your options and pick the right ones, you might have a good shot at getting the financial assistance you need.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 5 relatively easy scholarships to apply for. However, this list isn’t exactly comprehensive. You should definitely take the time to look at even more scholarship programs out there. We’ll also be adding a couple of federal education grant programs for good measure.
What Makes These Scholarships Unique
So, the common understanding of usual scholarships is that you need to work hard for them. Whether you choose the academic path or a more sports-based one, they require a lot of dedication. Even with a lot of time and effort, these scholarships are not guaranteed. As a matter of fact, almost no scholarship is guaranteed until the day you receive a letter saying that it is.
What makes the following scholarships so different from usual ones is the amount of effort you need to put in for them. We can easily describe that amount of effort as little-to-none. Most of the following scholarships just require you to sign up, answer a few questions, then just sit back and wait. Others will either require you to use your social media to follow some channels and comment or will ask you to create an impressive profile. Either way, with these scholarship programs, you don’t have to do much.
No Essay Smart Owl Scholarship
It’s pretty shocking that this scholarship is actually a thing. First of all, it used to be called the “You Deserve It” scholarship. But, that was when it offered only $2,222 as a scholarship. Under its new name, it now offers $7,000. Secondly, to register for a chance to win the scholarship, all you’ll need to do is provide your name (first and last), a valid email address, and phone number. And…that’s it. However, when you’re done providing that information, you’ll be transferred to a different page. That page will prompt you to give more information about your studies. That can include when you graduate high school or college, your GPA, and such.
There’s a pretty short list of requirements when it comes to this scholarship:
- You have to be a resident of any state (except for Rhode Island or Michigan), District of Columbia, or US territories
- Applicants must be at least 16 years of age
- To collect the benefits from this scholarship you need to be enrolled or will be enrolled in school within 3 months after applying for the scholarship
Once you create your account, you’ll enter the sweepstakes for the scholarship. Scholarship Services Inc. is pretty straightforward about your odds. They mention that you have 1 chance in 140,000 to win the scholarship. But, it can’t hurt to try, ha?
Be Bold Scholarship
Every year 1 lucky winner gets $25,050 from Bold.org. The name of the scholarship really gives away what it’s all about. Essentially, Bold.org wants to see the “boldest” applications for their scholarship. They’re looking for applications that are earnest, moving, and show dedication. While it may sound kind of vague, looking at the applications of prior winners can sort of give a clearer picture.
The Be Bold Scholarship is supposed to be a no-essay scholarship. However, looking through the application, you kind of need to write an essay. Take the most recent winner, Mchunde Mteulwa for example. This applicant basically wrote an essay about his background and why he wants the scholarship. However, when we read through it, you can kind of understand what Bold.org means by “earnest, moving, and dedicated.”
So, if you think you can create a profile that will truly baffle the deciding committee, you should definitely go for it. After all, $25,050 would make most people’s educational journey a lot easier.
Nitro College Scholarship
Shockingly, this scholarship is even easier than the previous ones we mentioned. The Nitro Scholarship offers $2,000. Just like all previously-mentioned scholarships, it’s based on sweepstakes. The scholarship is available for any legal resident of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or US territories. Applicants also have to be at least 17 years old to apply. Moreover, to be eligible for the Nitro Scholarship, you need to be one of the following cases:
- A parent whose kid is currently enrolled in an accredited college or university within the US
- A student who’s currently enrolled in an accredited college or university within the US
- The applicant can be a parent whose child is enrolled as a high school senior in a school within the US
- The high school seniors themselves, but have to be in a school located in the US
- Someone who graduated from an undergraduate accredited school in the US. That person has to be paying back a student or parent loan for his/her/child’s educational expenses.
You should look out for the deadline for each sweepstake. If you somehow miss the deadline and submit late, the system will add your submission to the next sweepstake.
Shining Stars Scholarship
One thing is for certain, this scholarship program is very different from the ones mentioned previously. This one revolves around using your social media as your application medium. First of all, Ascent, the scholarship sponsor, is offering $1,000 every month. One would assume they credit this scholarship to promote their financial wellness solutions business.
Here Are The Eligibility Rules
- Applicants must be at least 18 years old
- Legal residents of any of the 50 states or the District of Columbia
- DACA students are also permitted to apply
- The application is open to students who have applied to or are enrolled in a degree program at least half-time, or technical skills training program
- It’s also open to parents or legal guardians of students who have applied to or are enrolled in a degree program at least half-time, or technical skills training program
Let’s Take A Look At How To Apply
First, you’ll need to follow the scholarship sponsor’s social media page on TikTok and Instagram. Then, there’s a certain post that you’ll need to ‘like’. After that, you’ll need to create an Instagram reel or a TikTok video talking about financial wellness. You should include how you budget if you have any savings and how you’re preparing for your financial future. Finally, you’ll upload the video, and complete the contact form. And, that’s it. Just like that, you’ll enter a sweepstake for $1,000 that you can repeat every month.
Cappex Easy Money Scholarship
Honestly, it doesn’t get much easier than this scholarship. Cappex is offering a $1,000 scholarship that requires the absolute minimum effort. Hence, the “Easy Money” part in its name.
Let’s Get the Eligibility Rules Out Of The Way First
- Contest limited to residents of the Fifty states and the District of Columbia
- Applicants must be at least 13 years old
- Applicants under the age of 18 must have a document that proves permission from their parents
- Parents applying on behalf of their kids will be subject to all rules and regulations of the contest
- Applications should only be made for students who are currently planning to enroll in an accredited post-secondary institution of higher learning within four years of the Sweepstakes. These institutions must be within the US.
How To Apply
To enter the contest, applicants only need to fill in the blanks with the required information. At the top of the application, you’ll find “high school” & “college” as options. The information required will depend on which type of student is applying. For a high school student, the following information will be required:
- Name (First and last)
- Gender (optional)
- Ethnicity (optional)
- Date of birth
- High school graduation date
- Expected college start term
- Top 10 colleges you’re considering
- 5 majors you’re considering
- Contact information (address, zip code, and phone number)
Federally-Funded Educational Grant You Should Consider
As you can probably tell, scholarships are not that easy to just win. That covers even those earned through hard work (academic or sports-related). Especially when it comes to these sweepstake scholarships, you can’t just depend on them, as it’s all a matter of luck. And, we’ve talked before about how higher education in the US is crazy-expensive.
Thankfully, the government has several programs in place to help those in financial need. The government recognizes the issue of student debts and the high price of education. That’s why they created grants that mainly aim to help students from low-income families. What makes grants different from loans is the fact that students don’t have to pay them back. So, eligible students may receive grants from the government, go to school, graduate, and end up with $0 debt. Most importantly, students need to be sure of their eligibility. It would be a shame to put a lot of hope on a grant, spend the time and effort required, then end up with diddly squat.
Federal Pell Grant
This is probably the most popular federal educational grant. The Pell grant aims to help undergraduate students who come from low-income families, specifically. Eligible beneficiaries obviously have to invest the grant fund towards their education. The Pell grant can provide up to $6,895 to each eligible recipient, per academic year.
The application process is pretty straightforward. Applicants will only need to fill in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. Needless to say, students need to provide clear and truthful information on their applications. Once the government confirms all of the information on the form, they’ll start evaluating how much the student needs and what the government is willing to provide.
This calculation process is pretty precise. Basically, the government will look at 2 factors: Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) & Cost Of Attendance (COA).
EFC calculates your family’s taxed and untaxed income, assets, and benefits. The number of members in your family, as well as the number of members in your family who are going to college, may also influence your EFC.
Your COA will be based upon the following factors:
- Tuition and fees
- The cost of room and board
- The cost of books, supplies, transportation, loan fees, and other expenses (that can include the cost of a personal computer within reasonable boundaries)
- An allowance for child care or other dependent care
- Costs related to a disability
- Reasonable costs for eligible study-abroad programs.