How Can I Pay for College?

A college education is an expensive proposition, even if you manage to set aside money for college costs. As of 2011, the average cost for a year at a public university was $22,000, while the average costs for private institutions was closer to $30,000. Often students, and their families, need to borrow money from the Federal Student Aid program, or from private lenders, to defray costs.

But loans have their own problems, including excessive interest rates and high monthly payments. Scholarships from private and publicly-held companies offer students an alternative to traditional school-based scholarships, or expensive loans. The 21st Century program, offers a $10,000 scholarship to one student for community service, as well as twenty $500 scholarships. Students can apply for the 21st Century scholarship at the company website: pages/en/scholarship.jsp. In addition to 21st Century, students have several other options for finding money for school.

PepsiCo College Scholarships

PepsiCo offers several regional scholarships. The “Quaker, Tropicana & Gatorade Quality, Trust & Growth Scholarship” is a $5,000 non-renewable, annual scholarship. PepsiCo awards 14 scholarships to current undergraduate students, majoring in economics, with a minimum 3.0 GPA at one of the following schools:

St. Joseph’s University, Wake Forest University, Tuskegee University, Ohio State University, Texas A&M University, University of Texas, University of Arizona, and University of Washington.

The Pepsi Bottling Group $10,000 Scholarship is a $10,000 annual scholarship for graduating high school seniors with a minimum 2.5 GPA, who have been accepted to a Maryland technical school, college or university.

PepsiCo also offers seven other scholarships for specific schools, or to children of employees of PepsiCo. Participating schools include Missouri State University, Hospitality High School in Washington, D.C., and Mid-Tel Technology Center. PepsiCo also offers a Transfer Student Scholarship through Phi-Theta Kappa.

The National Honor Society Scholarships

The National Honor Society (NHS) provides scholarships eligible high school seniors, in good standing, who attend a school with an active NHS chapter. Applicants do not apply directly, but are nominated by the chapter for the scholarship, and the number of students nominated depends on the size of the school. The NHS scholarship is a progressive program where applicants are rewarded money for each level they complete. Every state finalist receives $1,000 and the winner for that state receives an additional $500. State winners who progress to the regional level receive an additional $1,500. And the national winner receives an additional $10,000.

National Merit Scholarship

The National Merit Scholarship is available to high school students who are U.S. citizens (or in the process of applying for citizenship) and members of the National Merit Program. Students qualify for the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test – or the PSAT/NMSQT. Participation in the scholarship program is based on PSAT/NMSQT scores and high-scoring students are automatically entered for selection. The National Merit Program awards several $2,500 scholarships per year to qualifying students.

United Realty Partners Scholarship

United Realty Partners, a real estate advisory and investment firm, offers scholarships from $5,000 to $10,000 to any applicants willing to write a response to a short essay posted on their website. United Realty Partners offer scholarships year-round and there is no deadline for application.

Courage to Grow Scholarship

Courage to grow is an organization founded to help applicants pay for college. Eligible applicants must be a junior or senior in high school, and a U.S. citizen with a minimum 2.5 GPA. The award amount is $500 and the foundation gives away one award per month.

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