How to locate underused college scholarships - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

How to locate underused college scholarships

Updated: Aug 5, 2011 09:46 AM EDT
You can begin by searching for scholarships within your parents' professions or clubs. (©Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock) You can begin by searching for scholarships within your parents' professions or clubs. (©Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock)


By Elaine Zimmermann

David: I have heard there are unusual college scholarships that people never apply for. How does someone find out about these?

Elaine: There are many scholarships set up by organizations, individuals and fraternal clubs that go wanting for applicants each year. Let me share with you a unique experiment I tried while writing this column that may help you and others locate many of them.

I decided to look around the room and note what I saw. I am writing this on a Gateway computer. So I searched "Gateway scholarship". An entire program of scholarships appeared on the screen. They are not connected with the computer manufacturer, but all a compilation of scholarships for minority students. One such scholarship is the Ron Brown scholarship named for the first African-American appointed to the Cabinet post of Secretary of Commerce and the first to serve as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. At the time of his death in 1996, he was a figure of global prominence, respected for his intelligence, political savvy and leadership. He died while on a trade mission in Eastern Europe. This scholarship awards $40,000 to deserving applicants; $10,000 per year for a four year period.

Someone sent me card with a turtle on it. I searched "turtle scholarship". The Boyd Nathaniel Lyon scholarship appeared. It was set up by a family whose son was devoted to the study of sea turtles. He was lost at age 37 while swimming off the coast of Florida in pursuit of closer examination of the sea turtles he was passionate about protecting.

This is a somewhat extreme way to look for scholarships, but it illustrates how many unusual scholarship opportunities exist.

What I suggest is that anyone looking for a scholarship who has already exhausted the opportunity for Pell Grants or other financial aid from the college or school you wish to attend compile a family affiliation list -- all of the associations of you and your parents. These should include your parents' professional, spiritual and fraternal organizations. Compile the same list for yourself but in place of your profession include future profession, as well as interests and hobbies (such as the sea turtle enthusiast), and memberships in clubs or organizations (Boy Scouts, fraternities, canoe enthusiast and others).

Begin by searching for scholarships within your father's profession -- "Navy pilot scholarships". Or "Son, Navy pilot scholarship". You may further define your search by adding "Vietnam veteran Navy pilot scholarship, son/daughter."

If your father's or mother's profession includes a union membership, be sure and check for scholarships offered by that union. For example, the AFL-CIO's Union Plus Scholarship Program is designed to assist students of working families who want to begin or complete their college educations. The program database includes in excess of $4 million in union-sponsored scholarships. Each contains the scholarship eligibility, application deadlines and contact information.

Go to unionplus.org to view the list of more than 38,000 local unions in the United States. It includes everything from the National Association of Letter Carriers to the Pilot's Association. Most of these include information about the scholarships that are available to their members and members of their immediate families.

If your father Rotarian (member of a Rotary club) or some other fraternal organization such as the Elks, you may be eligible for a scholarship from these organizations.

The Elks have more one million members in more than 2,100 local lodges. Each year the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks awards more than $3 million in college scholarships. Go to their website elks.org to learn more.

Elaine Zimmermann is a personal finance expert who was written about everyday ways to save money on cars, homes, vacations and more. For information on investing in foreclosed real estate you can visit her website at www.AskElaineZ.com.

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