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Scholarships and Grants from Private Organizations

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Federal Financial Aid

In addition to the federal government, many national private or not-for-profit organizations offer college scholarships, grants, and financial aid. Most of these organizations hold a contest or drawing that you have to enter in order to qualify to win their scholarship. Frequently, the contest requirement is an essay, but some competitions have other criteria.

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Click on these scholarships to learn more about them. There may be one just right for you.

AAA Travel High School Challenge
The AAA Travel High School Challenge is a three-stage competition for high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors, starting with the online competition in January and ending with the national competition in May. The challenge is focused on travel literacy, geography and tourism destinations. More than $100,000 in scholarship funds are awarded, with three first place awards of $25,000 each and three second place awards of $10,000 each.

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ACLU Stand Up for Freedom Contest
The ACLU Stand Up for Freedom PSA Contest awards one $5,000 scholarship to the best TV public service announcement (PSA) on civil liberties issues created by a US citizen or legal resident aged 17-29. The ACLU also awards one $1,000 scholarship for the winning essay on civil liberties issues. See the web site for current topics. The contest opens on July 4 and the deadline for submission is October 4.

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Americanism Essay Contest
The Americanism Essay Contest is held by the Fleet Reserve Association (FRA) National Committee on Americanism-Patriotism. Their awards include a grand national prize of a $15,000 US Savings Bond, and $5,000, $3,000 and $2,000 US Savings Bonds awarded to the first, second and third place winners in each grade category. The contest is open to students in grades 7 through 12. Entrants must be sponsored by an FRA member or by a chartered branch or unit. The deadline is December 1.

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American Harlequin Dance Scholarship
The American Harlequin Dance Scholarship is sponsored by Harlequin Floors. Twenty $25,000 scholarships are awarded randomly. The deadline is November 1.

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AIDS Orphans in Africa Essay Contest
The AIDS Orphans in Africa Essay Contest awards $1,000 scholarships to the author of the best essay in three different age categories (under 12, 13-17, and 18-22). U.S. citizenship or permanent residency is required. The deadline is April 15. The awards are sponsored by Oakseed Ministries and Stand for Africa.

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Akademos/TextbookX.com Scholarship Contest
Akademos Inc. offers spring and fall scholarship essay contests to help publicize their website, TextbookX.com , a source of new and used textbooks. The contest is available to both undergraduate, and graduate students. The grand prize winner will receive $2,000, and two runners-up receive $250 gift certificates for TextbookX.com. The fall deadline is October 31. The spring deadline is April 30.

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AXA Achievement Scholarship Program
The AXA Achievement Scholarship Program awards $10,000 and $25,000 scholarships to high school seniors who have demonstrated outstanding achievement in non-academic activities in school, community or the workplace. The award is sponsored by the AXA Foundation. US citizenship or legal residency is required. Fifty-two students will win a $10,000 scholarship. Ten national winners will receive an additional $15,000, for a total of $25,000. The deadline is December 15.

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AFSA National Scholarship Essay Contest
The AFSA National Scholarship Essay Contest is put together by the American Fire Sprinkler Association. The national winner will receive a $4,000 scholarship, with second and third place winners receiving $3,000 and $2,000 scholarships. The four remaining regional winners each will receive $1,000 scholarships. Information is available starting in the fall. The deadline is in early January.

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The BRICK Awards
The BRICK Awards by "Do Something" award a $5,000 scholarship and a $5,000 grant to "change-makers" age 18 and under who work to improve their communities under the Do Something program. They also provide a $10,000 grant to individuals aged 19-25. Americans and Canadians are invited to compete. Four of the twelve Brick Award winners will be selected as Golden BRICK winners and receive an additional $15,000. The deadline is December 1.

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Calgon "Take Me Away to College" Contest
The Calgon Take Me Away to College Contest is an essay contest sponsored by Calgon, which offers scholarships in these amounts: $7,000 (1); $3,500 (1); $2,000 (1); and $1,000 (5) are awarded. The deadline is February 28.

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Christopher College Video and High School Poster Contests
This is a yearly video contest for college students and poster contest for high school students held by the Christophers. The video contest provides cash awards of $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000 for first, second and third place winners. The poster contest provides a cash award of $1,000 for the first place winner. See the web site for this year's theme. The deadline is in early June.

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Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program
Formerly known as the Comcast Foundation Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship Program, The Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Program awards more than one thousand $1,000 scholarships to high school seniors, from communities served by Comcast, who participate in community service and leadership programs. Candidates must be nominated by their high school principals by mid-March. Only one student can be nominated per principal.

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The Costume Society of America's Stella Blum Research Grant
The Costume Society of America's Stella Blum Research Grant is a grant (up to $3000) for Costume Society of America student members majoring in "costuming". Applicants must submit a proposal for a feasable research project that forwards the field of Costume. The application deadline is May 1 of each year.

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Disabled American Veterans Youth Volunteer Scholarship Awards
Disabled American Veterans provides several scholarships for volunteers 21 and under who serve at VA Medical Centers. The scholarships can include awards of up to $15,000. For more information, write to Disabled American Veterans, National Service and Legislative Headquarters, Voluntary Services Department, 807 Maine Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20024.

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D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant Program
The D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant Program helps with up to $10,000 of tuition subsidies per year to D.C. residents who wish to attend public colleges elsewhere in the country. It also offers smaller ammounts to residents who choose to attend one of the private colleges in the D.C. area, or one of the historically black colleges elswhere in the nation. In addition to financial aid grants, the program has a privately funded companion program called the D.C. College Access Program that provides high schools with counselors to guide students through the college application process, as well as offering mentoring and academic help once the students are in college. The aim of the program is to compensate for D.C.'s lack of a full public university system.

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Discover Card Tribute Award
The Discover Card Tribute Award awards up to $1 million in scholarships every year to high school juniors nationwide. Discover awards as much as 300 state scholarships of $2,500 and up to ten national $25,000 scholarships. The scholarships may be used to pay for postsecondary education at two and four-year colleges and vocational/technical schools. Winners are selected on the basis of community service, special talents, leadership, and overcoming an obstacle. Candidates must have a GPA of 2.75 or better in the 9th and 10th grades. The deadlineis January 31.

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Duck Brand Duct Tape "Stuck at Prom" Contest
The Duck Brand Duct Tape Stuck on Prom Contest is open to students 14 years or older who will be attending a high school prom in the spring. US citizenship is required. Entrants must apply as a couple (two individuals) and attend a high school prom wearing outfits or accessories made of duct tape. The application must include a color photograph of the couple together in their prom attire. The first place prize consists of a $2,500 scholarship for each member of the winning couple and a $2,500 cash prize to the school that hosted the prom. Other prizes include $1,000 for second place and $500 for third.. The winning couple will be selected based on a variety of criteria, including originality, workmanship, quantity of Duck Tape used, use of colors, and creative use of accessories. The Duck Tape contest web site includes photographs of the winning costumes.

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Environmental Essay Contest
The "A Better Earth" Environmental Essay Contest is sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies. The contest is open to full-time undergraduate or graduate students or individuals under age 25 as of May 15. High school students are not eligible. The contest awards one first place award of $2,000, one second place award of $1,250, one third place award of $750, and four runner up awards of $250 each. The deadline is May 15. .

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Holocaust Remembrance Project Essay Contest
The Holocaust Remembrance Project Essay Contest is designed to encourage and promote the awareness and study of the Holocaust. Ten first place winners receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington DC to visit the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and scholarships of $1,000 to $5,000. The contest is open to all residents of the United States as well as Mexico, and also to US Citizens living abroad. Candidates should be enrolled in high school (grades 9-12) and age 19 or under. The deadline is April 15. .

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Horatio Alger Association Scholarships
The Horatio Alger Association provides scholarships for students who have demonstrated personal integrity and perseverance in overcoming adversity. Other selection criteria include strength of character, financial necesity, good academic performance (a GPA of 2.0 or higher), as well as a desire to contribute to society. The association awards 100 $10,000 scholarships and 150 $1,000 scholarships each year to high school seniors. U.S. citizenship is a requisite. Several states also have state scholarship programs. The deadline is October 15.

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The Jeanette Rankin Foundation Scholarship Program
The Jeanette Rankin Foundation offers need-based financial aid for women 35 and older who have been challenged by higher education systems and financial disadvantages. Applicants must be enrolled in, or accepted to, an accredited school. They must also be pursuing a technical or vocational education, an associate's degree, or a first bachelor's degree, and they must also be classified as low-income according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor.

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MoneyMatters101.com Scholarships
The MoneyMatters101.com scholarship is a financial-themed essay competition. It is open to college freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors attending college in the US or Canada. A GPA of 2.3 or higher is required. One $300 scholarship will be awarded. The deadline is August 31.

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The National Society of Accountants Scholarship Foundation
Students majoring in Accounting can get some financial help from the National Society of Accountants Scholarship Foundation. The NSA Scholarship program provides an average of 40 $1,000 scholarships per year to students in their 3rd or 4th years of study, and approximately $500 each to students in their second year of studies.

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Patricia M. McNamara Memorial Scholarship
The Patricia M. McNamara Memorial Scholarship awards one $1,000 scholarship to current college students who have had to overcome adversity to achieve their goals. The deadline is December 31.

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Patrick Kerr Skateboard Scholarship
The Patrick Kerr Skateboard Scholarship awards one $5,000 and three $1,000 scholarships to skateboarders who are high school seniors with a GPA of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Recipients must enroll as a full-time undergraduate at an accredited college or university the fall after high school graduation. U.S. citizenship is required. The award is given to skateboard activists. The deadline is in late April.

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Prudential Spirit of Community Awards
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards recognize children in grades 5-12 who have performed volunteer activities and have a history of community service. The program is sponsored by Prudential together with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). State winners receive a $1,000 award. National winners receive a $5,000 award. The student application deadline is in late October.

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Tylenol Scholarship
The Tylenol Scholarship program gives out ten $10,000 scholarships and 150 $1,000 scholarships to students for excellence and leadership in community service. The deadline is April 30. The program is administered by Scholarship America, Inc.

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The United Negro College Fund Scholarships Programs
The United Negro College Fund is one of the nation's largest, oldest, and most successful organizations dedicated to assisting minorities acquire a higher education. They offer a variety of scholarships and help find internships, as well as provide support to historically Black colleges and universities.

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Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship
The Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) offers two $5,000 scholarships every year to graduating US high school seniors who have campaigned for vegetarianism in their schools and communities. The application requires entrants to write an essay about how they promoted vegetarianism in their high school or community. The deadline is February 20. Applications are available on the VRG web site. For more information, call 1-410-366-8343 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              1-410-366-8343      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or write the Vegetarian Resource Group, PO Box 1463, Baltimore, MD 21203.

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Voice of Democracy Essay Contest
The Voice of Democracy Essay Contest is sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW). It is an audio essay contest open to high school students in grades 9-12. The first-place national winner receives a $25,000 scholarship. The essay topics will always be of a patriotic theme. The deadline is November 1.

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William R. Simms Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy
Organized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the William R. Simms Award for Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy is awarded to individuals and groups of people aged 5-17 and 18-23 who have "demonstrated outstanding commitment to the community through direct financial support, development of charitable programs, volunteering and leadership in philanthropy." The submission deadline is September 15.

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Carlos Soto is a Content contributor for CourseAdvisor.