5 Groups Offering Students Life-Changing Scholarships

With the costs of schooling at both public and private institutions endlessly skyrocketing, many students are forced to rely on predatory loans to attend the college of their choice. Too often, bright young scholars forgo higher education altogether to avoid costly tuition. To make education more accessible, many groups have formed scholarships allowing young people who otherwise might not afford university classes the chance to study. This list, in no particular order, highlights some organizations offering uniquely generous scholarships.

Kicking off our list at #1 is the Legacy Foundation, based in Lake County, Indiana. Its goal is to offer a personalized approach to giving that enables individuals, families, organizations, and businesses to make meaningful gifts. As a community foundation, it is a tax-exempt nonprofit, formed for the broad-based charitable benefit of residents in its defined geographic area.

Legacy's Lilly Endowment Scholarship provides selected university students full tuition, required fees, and a special allocation of up to $900 per year for textbooks and equipment. Eligible scholars must be pursuing four years of undergraduate study on a full-time basis leading to a baccalaureate degree at an accredited Indiana public or private nonprofit college or university.

Coming in at #2, we have Say Yes to Education. This nonprofit aims to revitalize communities by helping them give every public high school graduate access to college or other postsecondary scholarships. It was founded in 1987 by money manager George Weiss.

In addition to tuition benefits, Say Yes offers other supports, such as tutoring, after-school services, counseling, and more. These are available to families of public school students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 wherever Say Yes has a city-wide program, like Buffalo, New York and Cleveland, Ohio.

The #3 entry is the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship program. It provides grants allowing US undergraduate students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study abroad programs worldwide.

The program aims to encourage students to study and intern in a diverse array of countries and world regions. It also encourages students to learn critical need languages deemed essential to national security, such as Arabic, Japanese, Korean, and Portuguese. Those studying these languages can apply for a supplemental award.

For #4, we present the UNCF. This nonprofit is the nation’s largest private scholarship provider to minority group members. Each year, it awards millions of dollars in scholarships to students attending higher education institutions across the United States. The group partners with a network of historically black colleges and universities and has special funds for these schools.

Some of the awards are for particular fields of study, such as the Black Winemaker Scholarship, a merit-based program that supports full-time African American juniors, seniors, or graduate students studying viticulture or enology. The organization also sponsors several internships, fellowships, and faculty development opportunities.

Last but not least, at #5, we have the Boettcher Foundation. Based in Denver, Colorado, this philanthropic organization awards grants, research dollars, and scholarships to residents and projects in the Centennial State. The Boettcher Scholarship program supports local students by providing them a full ride to any four-year institution in the state.

Upon receiving the scholarship, Boettcher Scholars automatically join a network of Boettcher Alumni. Access to this group allows students to connect with local, national, and international leaders, and can sometimes result in internships and jobs. Some of the colleges attended by award-winners include Fort Lewis College and Johnson and Wales University.