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Articles / Paying for College / Unusual Sources of Money for College

Unusual Sources of Money for College

Dave Berry
Written by Dave Berry | Sept. 7, 2017

If I were conducting a survey of both students and parents about their biggest college-related concerns, I would put my money on “How to pay for college" as the biggest issue among those queried. That just makes common sense, due to the astronomical cost of college these days.

Consequently, families scour the Internet and other sources for even the slightest shred of hope in finding sources of cash to help buffer the ongoing threat of student loan debt, which is one of the major ills among college graduates today. I've done some scouring myself and found a somewhat amusing group of scholarships, most of which will provide not much more than a dent in a semester's textbook bill, but they are good to illustrate the wide diversity of possible cash sources for college.

21 Crazy-Weird Scholarships, subtitled, “Here's to all you awesome freaks and geeks – we've found these scholarships, just for you!" is from Fastweb's scholarship section. Every now and then, I like to explore the world of off-road college money sources and Fastweb is always fascinating, or should I say, “fastenating"? Sorry.

So, here are my picks of eight of the 21. Go ahead and geek-out and check the remaining 13 for yourself.

Note: The deadlines for these in the article have all expired, but they represent the kinds of unusual scholarships that are out there, if you take the time to dig deep enough into the Web. So, don't yell at me for posting obsolete information. View it as a kind of fun diversion amid the stress of the college process. Who knows? Some of these may be renewable.

Update: Some are, indeed, renewable! Example: Morgan/O'Neill Underwater Photography Grant. Current deadline: November 17, 2017. Thus, check these out to see which ones are still active.

– Stick or Treat Contest

Deadline: 10/31/16

Available to: Ages 14+

Award Amount: Varies

The Stick or Treat Contest is open to students ages 14 and older.

To enter, you must submit an image of your decorated and / or accessorized Halloween themed pumpkin (real or artificial) using Duck Tape® brand duct tape.

Learn more about the Stick or Treat Contest.

– Morgan/O'Neill Underwater Photography Grant

Deadline: 11/18/16

Available to: College Freshmen through Graduate Students, Year 5

Award Amount: $2,000

The Morgan/O'Neill Underwater Photography Grant is open to female students who are looking to continue their development in the field of underwater photography. You must be a certified diver in order to qualify for this award.

Learn more about the Morgan/O'Neill Underwater Photography Grant.

– New Look Laser Tattoo Removal Scholarship

Deadline: 11/30/16

Available to: College Freshmen through Graduate Students, Year 5

Award Amount: $1,000

The New Look Laser Tattoo Removal Scholarship is available to students enrolled or planning to enroll in an accredited college or university. On a website, blog, or online forum; you must write a 200 – to 400 – word post that expresses your opinion of the societal impact of laser tattoo removal. You must have a minimum 3.0 GPA to be eligible for this award.

Learn more about the New Look Laser Tattoo Removal Scholarship.

– National Cartoonists Society Foundation – Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: 12/15/16

Available to: College Juniors through College Seniors

Award Amount: $5,000

The Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship is available to college juniors and seniors. You must submit eight examples of your own cartooning artwork to be considered for this award.

Learn more about the National Cartoonists Society Foundation – Jay Kennedy Memorial Scholarship.

– Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship

Deadline: 2/20/17

Available to: High School Seniors through College Freshmen

Award Amount: 1 Awards of $10,000, 2 Awards of $5,000

The Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship is available to graduating high school seniors.

You must have been active in promoting vegetarianism in your school and / or community; and have demonstrated compassion, courage, and a strong commitment to promoting a peaceful world through a vegetarian diet/lifestyle to be considered for this award.

Learn more about the Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship.

– American Board of Funeral Service Education National Scholarship

Deadline: 3/01/17

Available to: College Sophomores through College Seniors

Award Amount: $2,500

The American Board of Funeral Service Education National Scholarship is open to students who are pursuing study in a program in funeral service or mortuary science education in an ABFSE-accredited program.

To be considered for this award, you must have completed at least one semester/quarter of study and have at least one remaining before graduation.

This award is based on financial need, academic performance, extracurricular activities, recommendations and the articulateness of the application itself. U.S. citizenship is also required.

Learn more about the American Board of Funeral Service Education National Scholarship.

– Create-A-Greeting Card Scholarship Contest

Award Amount: $10,000

Deadline: 3/02/17

Available to: High School Freshmen through Graduate Students, Year 5

The Create-A-Greeting Card Scholarship Contest is open to currently enrolled high school and college students in the United States. To enter, you must design a holiday, get well, or birthday greeting card and submit your work to be judged. Your photo, art, or graphics submitted must be your own original work and you must be at least 14 years of age to be eligible for this award.

Learn more about the Create-A-Greeting Card Scholarship Contest.

– CKSF Scholarship Competition

Deadline: Varies

Available to: High School Freshmen to Graduate Students, Year 5

Award Amount: $2,500

The CKSF Scholarships are available to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students in the U.S.

You must register to participate in scholarship quizzes that test your knowledge of topics ranging from general “common knowledge" to specific academic subjects, books, websites, and even movies.

You will be scored based on a combination of time and accuracy. Students with the highest scores at the end of each competition win.

Learn more about the CKSF Scholarship Competition.


As you can see, the Create-A-Greeting Card Scholarship Contest offers creative types some meaningful cash. Thus, time spent researching aid sources is time well spent. Happy digging!


Be sure to check out all my articles at College Confidential.

Written by

Dave Berry

Dave Berry

Dave is co-founder of College Confidential and College Karma Consulting, co-author of America's Elite Colleges: The Smart Buyer's Guide to the Ivy League and Other Top Schools, and has over 30 years of experience helping high schoolers gain admission to Ivy League and other ultra-selective schools. He is an expert in the areas application strategies, stats evaluation, college matching, student profile marketing, essays, personality and temperament assessments and web-based admissions counseling. Dave is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and has won national awards for his writing on higher education issues, marketing campaigns and communications programs. He brings this expertise to the discipline of college admissions and his role as a student advocate. His College Quest newspaper page won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publisher's Association Newspapers in Education Award, the Thomson Newspapers President's Award for Marketing Excellence and the Inland Press Association-University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Mass Communications Inland Innovation Award for the Best New Page. His pioneering journalism program for teenagers, PRO-TEENS, also received national media attention. In addition, Dave won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award for Celebrate Diversity!, a program teaching junior high school students about issues of tolerance. His College Knowledge question-and-answer columns have been published in newspapers throughout the United States. Dave loves Corvettes, classical music, computers, and miniature dachshunds. He and his wife Sharon have a daughter, son and four grandchildren.

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