Scholarships can be a godsend for cash-strapped students who need help to afford a college education. There’s a wide variety of groups and organizations offering these awards to students who can use the help. Every scholarship is special, but there are some that really stand out as huge, from big organizations giving millions or even billions in scholarship money every year, to individual awards that can reach six figures. We’re totally blown away by the size and breadth of these 10 huge scholarships, and we bet you will be, too. Read on to learn more about them and how you can apply to get one for yourself.
College athletics are kind of a big deal, and athletic scholarships a big part of that. Although the NCAA itself does not award athletic scholarships, NCAA schools are responsible for more than $1.5 billion in athletic scholarships annually. You heard right: one and a half billion dollars in scholarship money every year. These scholarships can cover almost anything, from tuition, fees, room and board, to course-related books, offering many student athletes an absolute free ride.
Miss America is easily one of the largest and most visible scholarship programs in the world. Although scholarly pursuits are often overshadowed by glitz and glamour, the Miss American Organization is responsible for millions upon millions of scholarship aid at the local, state, and national level. Just last year, the organization had more than $45 million to give. The organization offers several different types of scholarships, including Miss America Scholar, Miss America Community Service Scholarship, Quality of Life Awards, the Dr. & Mrs. David B. Allman Scholarship, and the Eugenia Vellner Fischer Award for the Performing Arts.
The United Negro College Fund is famous for providing the scholarship funds necessary to send more than 60,000 students to college each year. Through 400 different scholarship and internship programs, low and moderate income students are able to go to school when they otherwise might not have been able to. One of the most impressive scholarship programs the United Negro College Fund offers is the Merck Undergraduate Science Research Scholarship Awards, with awards ranging from $35,000 all the way to $85,000 for students in bioscience and biotechnology.
The Gates Foundation has an impressive portfolio of scholarship programs available to students. In addition to various university donations, The Gates Foundation has created scholarships like the $210 million Gates Cambridge Scholarships, $1.5 billion Gates Millennium Scholars, and $122 million D.C. Achievers Scholarships.
Participating in Future Farmers of America is about so much more than agriculture; it’s raising money for school, too. This organization sends future farmers to school with the financial support they need, to the tune of $2 million every year with more than 1,000 scholarships available.
Although the Davidson Fellows Scholarship program does not reach huge giving goals like many of the other programs on this list, the program is impressive for its high-dollar awards. It is one of the most prestigious undergrad scholarships in the world, offering $50,000, $25,000, and $10,000 scholarships to truly extraordinary young people. In its history, the Davidson Institute has given more than $4 million to 184 scholarship recipients.
In short, Coca-Cola gives a whole lot of money to a whole lot of students each year. Through the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, more than 1,400 students will receive scholarships totaling $3.4 million every year. Most impressively, the Coca-Cola Scholars program offers 250 achievement-based scholarships at both the national and regional level. Each year, 200 regional scholars are awarded $10,000, while an additional top 50 national scholars receive $20,000.
Coca-Cola isn’t the only major corporation sharing lots of cash with students. Through the Buick Achievers Scholarship Program, the American car maker offers one of the largest scholarship award amounts available. Each year, Buick offers a $25,000 scholarship that’s renewable for up to five years, reaching a value of up to $125,000. It’s designed to attract students who may become the Buick car makers of the future. In addition to this single large award, Buick awards 1,000 one-time scholarships of $2,000 each year to students interested in engineering, design, and business.
Another major corporate sponsor of education for many students, Dell offers substantial awards to qualifying scholars. For 250 lucky students, Dell will provide a $20,000 scholarship. This program adds up to $5 million per year. High school seniors with a minimum 2.4 GPA and who can demonstrate financial need can apply to be a part of the program.
Each year, Best Buy gives over $1 million in scholarships to high school students who stand out through academic achievement, volunteering, and work experience. Although the award is not necessarily impressive at $1,000, the amount of students impacted is: this year, 1,106 students won the award. Since 1999, Best Buy has provided more than $20.7 million to 16,545 students.