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50 Unconventional Scholarships For Students in USA

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Over 44 million Americans hold more than $1.4 trillion in student loan debt. Out of 400 millions of students, only 54.8% of them graduate in six years. According to Bill Gates, “The U.S. has the highest college dropout rate. We’re number one in terms of the number of people who start college, but we’re like number 20 in terms of the number of people who finish college.”

These statistics prove that education in the US is quite expensive.

Thus, scholarships are mandatory to study in the USA. Here is a list of 50 amazing scholarship programs that can make your academic life financially easier. Check them out.

Scholarships in the USA for International Students

There are two types of scholarships in the USA for international students. One is funded by the government and the other one is funded by private organisations.

US scholarships funded by the government

  1. Fullbright Foreign Student Programs 

This is the most popular US scholarship program for international students, graduate students, artists and young professionals can opt for this program for a year or more. This program is available for all courses except for medicine. The Fullbright program covers charges for travel, tuition, health insurances and living expenses.

Amount: $1200-$2300

Deadline: October 13, 2020

  1. Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Programs 

You can opt for this scholarship program if you are an international student planning to complete ten months of academic study in the US. It is a non-degree scholarship program and hence doesn’t support degree qualifications. The Humphrey Programs cover tuition fees, pre-academic English language training, living allowances, book allowances, a one-time computer subside and air travel expenses.

Amount: $1200-$2300

Deadline: October 1

US scholarships funded by private organisations

  1. The Gates Scholarship 

It is a highly selective, last-dollar scholarship for exceptionally talented high school seniors.  Eligible scholars will receive funding for the full cost of attendance that isn’t covered by other financial aids as determined by the FAFSA or the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The ‘cost of attendance’ includes the student’s tuition fees, accommodation expenses, transportation costs, books and other essential personal costs.

Amount: £17,500 

Deadline: September 15, 2020

  1. NextGen Scholarship Programs

This scholarship program was established by the Consulting President, P.E.R.K, USA for international students coming to the USA for further studies. It is applicable for anyone pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in any field. One scholarship program is awarded to one student each fall semester. The NextGen Scholarship program covers all tuition and academic fees.

Amount: $932.12

Deadline: March 31, 2020

  1. Civil Society Leadership Awards 

The Civil Society Leadership Awards or CSLA offers fully-funded scholarships to international students trying to get a Master’s degree from USA universities. Students who demonstrate academic excellence and a deep commitment towards bringing a positive social change in their communities are eligible for this scholarship program. You will receive all sorts of administrative and financial support through CSLA.

Amount: Varies

Deadline: May 15, 2020

US Scholarships for students from Developing Countries

  1. MasterCard Foundation Scholarships 

This program helps students from Africa become the next generation of leaders out there in the USA. MasterCard Foundation Scholarship programs provide financial and academic support to scholars. The financial support includes at least the students’ tuition fees, books, accommodation and other scholastic materials.

Amount: Varies

Deadline: March 18, 2020

  1. Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Programme 

This scholarship program offers a limited number of scholarships to postgraduate students who hail from developing countries. Aga Khan Foundation accepts forms from Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Uganda, India, Canada, etc. This program helps students with their tuition fees and living expenses only. It doesn’t include your cost of travel.  

Amount: Varies

Deadline: March 31, 2020 (It may vary)

Scholarships for Women To Study In the USA

Scholarships for women in the USA come with several criteria such as sporting achievements, academic performance, leadership skills, etc. Here is a list of international scholarships designed specifically for women to study in the USA.

  1. American Association of University Women (AAUW)

There are seven different types of scholarship programs included in AAUW. The programs include International Fellowships for women from other countries who want to pursue an education in the US, American Fellowships for women who are US citizens and Selected Professions Fellowships for women who want to pursue Master’s degree in architecture, computer science, maths and engineering.

Amount: $30, 000

Deadline: November 15, 2020

  1. ACF Rae Lee Siporin Scholarship for Women

The Rae Lee Scholarship for Women offers financial assistance to women who want to continue or return to university or college and complete their first undergraduate degree. Applicants must have completed their sophomore or freshman years of college to be eligible for this scholarship program. It covers the tuition fees and living expenses only for each student.  

Amount: $1,000

Deadline: June 4, 2020

  1. AFWM Ford Emerging Voices Scholarship 

AWMF or the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation joined hands with Ford Motor Company Fund to help promising female graduate or undergraduate students finance their education in the field of media. The students need to provide future journalistic content for AWM on pre-approved topics. The winner will receive $3000 and the runner-up will receive $1000.

Amount: Total $4000

Deadline: May 8, 2020

Unique College Scholarships In The USA

Apart from international students and women, there are some unique scholarships for undergraduate and graduates in the USA. Whether you are an amateur ice sculptor or a musical theatre enthusiast, the following scholarships can help you finance your unique courses in the USA.

  1. American Board of Funeral Service National Scholarship Program 

This scholarship program offers financial aid to students interested in the field of funeral and mortuary sciences. Four undergraduate students and two graduate students are awarded this scholarship every year. Applicants should have completed at least one coursework on funeral and mortuary sciences to be eligible for this program.

Amount: $500-2,500

Deadline: Early March and early September

  1. American Fire Sprinkler Association Scholarship 

This program is for students who are freshers in college or have returned to college to complete their education after some time away from school. Selected students are awarded ten prizes to increase their awareness about the benefits of an automatic fire sprinkler.

Amount: Up to $2000

Deadline: Late August

  1. Asparagus Club Scholarship

Are you interested in pursuing your further education in the field of grocery industry? Then this scholarship program can help you with it. It offers ten awards every year to full-time students who have a GPA of 2.5 or higher. The Asparagus Club Scholarship program is ideal for students pursuing degrees in food and retail programs. It hosts a competition to determine ten winners for this program. The competition is about creatively addressing a real-world issue causing an impact in the food industry.

Amount: $2000

Deadline: Mid-April

  1. Collegiate Inventors Competition 

The CIC or the Collegiate Investors Competition has offered nearly $1 million dollars to young inventors from more than 180 different countries. Submit your great innovative idea that you think could bring a change in this world and you can be rewarded for your imagination and ingenuity.

Amount: Varies every year

Deadline: June 8, 2020 

  1. Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest

This scholarship contest helps high school and collegiate students flex their creativity and design 100% original greeting cards. Anybody interested in artwork and is enrolled in US high schools, college or university can opt for this program. The artwork has to be original and can have graphic designs and quirky photographs.

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: March 6, 2020  

  1. Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling

The Chick and Sophie Contest has been awarding tons of high school students who are able to call ducks, for almost 40 years. Students should be able to showcase their skills in hailing, feeding, calling and mating calls to win this contest. This program is associated with the World’s Champion Duck Calling Contest and takes place on the Main Street Stage beside the Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce.

Amount: $2000

Deadline: Late November

  1. Doodle 4 Google Scholarship

Enjoy college scholarship rewards by drawing doodles for Google through this scholarship program. Besides monetary rewards, the national winner will also get a chance to exhibit his/her artwork on Google’s daily featured logo design. Applications are judged based on the five groups: K-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, and 10-12. You should be able to demonstrate unique artistic skills, creativity and originality.

Amount: $30,000 for winners and $50,000 for the winner’s school

Deadline: March 20, 2020

  1. Scholarship for Aggressive Scholarship Applicants 

This program offers additional funds on the basis of how many scholarship programs you have applied for. It encourages students to apply for as many programs as possible so that they could help them with the required monetary help. From college freshmen to senior citizens, this program is available to all who are eligible for other scholarship programs.

Amount: $500

Deadline: March 31, 2020

  1. DutchCrafters Amish Furniture Heritage Scholarship

You can connect with your Amish roots and make enough money for your schooling with this scholarship program. Students with Amish ancestry can apply for this program irrespective of their academic department. You need to write an essay on how your heritage has played an integral part in shaping your future aspirations and the recipients will be selected on the basis of the quality of your essays. Also, you need to have a GPA score of 3.0 or higher for this program.

Amount: $500

Deadline: Early May

  1. Zolp Scholarship 

Does your last name happen to be Zolp? And are you a Catholic student studying at the Loyola University in Chicago? Then this scholarship is an excellent opportunity for you to get some extra funding for your education. You need to submit the proof of your surname and Catholic faith to apply for this program. Undergraduate or even freshmen can apply for this program.

Amount: $17,000-$25,000 per year

Deadline: Early March

  1. Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarship

Graduating US high school students can receive $20,000 each year in their college scholarship money through this program once they promote vegetarianism in their schools. You can also apply for this program if you have promoted vegetarianism in your community. There are two awards of $5000 and one award of $10,000 for the runner-ups and winners respectively.

Amount: $20,000

Deadline: February 20, 2021

  1. Ursinus College Creative Writing Award

Creative writers with outstanding originality and potential can apply for this scholarship program irrespective of your academic department. Apart from monetary benefits, you will also be allowed to spend an entire day in the dorm room that was once occupied by J.D Salinger, who also attended Ursinus. Winners and finalists can also have their work published on The Lantern and other literary magazines.

Amount: $40,000

Deadline: January 1, 2020

  1. Unigo Flavor of the Month Scholarship 2018

All students irrespective of your academic merit and financial requirements can apply for this program. This program requires you to describe the flavours of ice creams in a 250-word description. You also need to explain why you chose that particular flavour to write the description about. You will be judged according to your writing ability, originality, creativity and overall excellence.

Amount: $1500

Deadline: July 31, 2020

  1. The Moroney Awards for Scholarships in Postal History 

This one is offered by the United States Postal Service and the program was initially started to honour the US postal service historian, Rita Llyod Moroney. You will be assessed on the basis of your knowledge in the US Postal Service in this program. The prizes come in two categories for this scholarship such as Junior and Senior packages. You need to discuss US postal history through articles, book chapters and papers in this program.

Amount: $1000 – $2000

Deadline: Early December

  1. The Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund 

This fund was named after the father of amateur golf, Francis Ouimet. The program offers need-based financial aid packages every year to students who work in the golf industry. You need to have at least two years of experience working as course attendants, pro shop employees or caddies in this industry to be eligible for this scholarship program. You can renew the fund for up to four years.

Amount: $1000 – $15,000

Deadline: Early December

  1. Tall Clubs International Student Scholarships 

If your height is above the average standards for your gender, you can apply for this unusual scholarship program. The Tall Clubs International Scholarship Program offers financial aid to students who are under 21 years of age and meet certain height specifications. The height specification for women is 5’10’ and 6’2’’ for men. Also, you need to complete the first semester of your college-level coursework for this program.

Amount: Up to $1000

Deadline: Early March

  1. STARFLEET Scholarships 

STARLEET scholarships are for those Star Trek fans out there who know the ins and outs of this show. Star Trek fans are rewarded for their enthusiasm in this scholarship program. Once you become STARLEET members, you can receive extra cash rewards to complete your degree in college. Most STARLEET scholarships require you to study in a specific field. However, there are a few programs that do not require any specific educational course.

Amount: Up to $1000

Deadline: Mid-June

  1. Shout It Out Scholarship 

The prompt for this scholarship program is “If you could say one thing to the world, what would it be and why?” Thus, if you are resident of a US state or territory, you can apply for this program. It requires you to express your unheard thoughts and opinions through write-ups. You need to think about how your message can affect others and then write the piece. Also, you need to be enrolled in an accredited post-secondary higher education institute.

Amount: $1500

Deadline: September 30, 2020

  1. PeakPicker Scholarship Program 

Students studying in academic fields such as communications, health science and marketing can apply for this program. You need to write a minimum 1000 word essay on ‘The future of Darts Board Games’ to win the cash prize offered by this scholarship program. You can not only learn more about everyone’s favourite pastime but can also win some exciting cash prizes through this scholarship program.

Amount: $500

Deadline: Late December

  1. National Potato Council Scholarship Program 

You can apply for this program if you are a graduate-level student in the US conducting research on the benefits of the potato industry. The winner is chosen on the basis of their academic achievements, leadership qualities, extracurricular activities, potato-related areas in graduation level and grades.

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: Mid-June

  1. Morgan/O’Neil Underwater Photography Grant

This scholarship program is sponsored by the Women Divers Hall of Fame. It is awarded to female photographers who have expertise in underwater photography. You need to showcase your unique and beautiful art of underwater photography to win the cash prize awarded in this scholarship program. You also need to have the diving experience to be eligible for this program.

Amount: $2000

Deadline: Mid-November

  1. Marian Madison Gypsy Lore Society Prize

Are you interested in Romani or Gypsy history? In that case, this scholarship program is best suited for you. This program can, in fact, help you achieve two goals. One, you will receive funding for your undergraduate or post-graduation course. Second, you can have your work published in the journal Romani studies. You need to submit an assignment of 30 to 40 pages on a topic relevant to Romani studies and Gypsy culture to win this program.

Amount: $500

Deadline: Late October

  1. Make Me Laugh Scholarship 

This is the best scholarship program which involves zero stress. All you have to do is submit a story where you will have to detail an embarrassing or funny incident. The story has to be within 250 words and it should be influenced by your real-life situations

Amount: $1500

Deadline: Late August

  1. Ludo Frevel Crystallography Scholarship 

Ludo Frevel program is ideal for students who are interested in pursuing a course in X-ray crystallography. It is named after the renowned scientist Ludo Frevel. The main intention of this program is to help students specialise in the study of X-ray diffraction in the fields of biology, chemistry, material science.

Amount: $2500

Deadline: Mid-October

  1. Lose Your Card

This scholarship program is an attempt to aware students about the importance of voting. Every year thousands of people skip voting, thereby neglecting one of the most important civic duties. Thus, Lose Your Card offers a cash prize to students who run their personal online voter registration drive on

Amount: $2000

Deadline: Late June

  1. Gamers Helping Gamers Scholarship 

Do you enjoy playing the famous video game Magic: The Gathering? Then this program can help you receive two non-renewable scholarships every year and fund your school or college fees with it. You need to discuss why Magic is your favourite and highlight some of your most and least favourite Magic cards to win the cash prize.

Amount: $5000

Deadline: Late March

  1. Scholarship 

This program requires you to submit an essay discussing the pros and cons of renting a home and buying a home. Currently enrolled college students such as graduate students, high school seniors and law students are eligible for this program. You need to submit an essay of a minimum of 800 words and maximum 2000 words on the topic mentioned above.

Amount: $2500 for the winner and $500 for two runner-ups each

Deadline: December 15, 2020

  1. FMA Solo Scholarship 

High school music students who have an interest in aviation technology can apply for this scholarship program. Your music director or teacher at the school has to nominate you for the program. It will then fund scholarships for juniors and seniors in high school and all chosen students can become members of the FMA network.

Amount: Varies

Deadline: Late January

  1. IP Video Contest

Age groups ranging from 16-18, 13-15 and 19+ are eligible to apply for this scholarship program. You need to discuss the importance of intellectual properties such as patents, trademarks, trade secrets and copyrights to win the cash offered in this program. You need to submit a 60-second video highlighting these points in the scholarship program

Amount: Varies

Deadline: Early July

  1. Getting Real About Distracted Driving Scholarship 

The main motive of this scholarship program is to help students know the consequences of distracted driving. Students who are eligible for a driving license can apply for this program. You can apply either in the spring or fall semesters. You need to develop advertisements showing the results of distracted driving. It can be a commercial, billboard or PSA.

Amount: $1000

Deadline: Late May and Late December

  1. Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest

Students who are of fourteen years of age or even older can apply for this program. It offers two grand prizes to the winners each. Applicants need to be legal residents of the US, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and all US territories. You need to use your imagination to create Duck Tape prom fashions in tux category or dress category to win the cash prize.

Amount: $10,000

Deadline: June 8, 2020

  1. David Letterman Scholarships 

These scholarship programs were established in 1985-1986 by David M. Letterman, a radio-television graduate of Ball State. He wanted to offer financial aid to the minors and majors of Ball State trying to pursue a degree in telecommunication. The students need to have credits between 30 and 102 at the end of the Fall semester to be eligible for this program.

Amount: $10,000 for the winner, $5000 for the first runner up and $3333 for the second runner up.

Deadline: April 13, 2020

  1. Hit The Books Scholarship 

School students or college students can opt for this scholarship program if they have pretty good academic grades and a strong love for coffee. You need to submit a short essay of about 500 words or even less describing the role of education in your life and how coffee has helped you achieve your academic goals.

Amount: $500

Deadline: August 25, 2020

  1. Little People of America Scholarship 

You need to be a current college or vocational school student in the United States to be eligible for this scholarship program. You need to submit a personal statement of at least 500 words, transcripts and three letters of recommendation to receive the scholarship amount. You can submit the form even if you are a member of LPA or have a medically diagnosed form of dwarfism.

Amount: $1000

Deadline: April 30

  1. Frederick and Mary F. Beckley Scholarship

If you are left-handed and you are planning to attend Juniata College in Pennsylvania, this scholarship program is ideal for you. It is one of the few scholarship programs that is based on physical characteristics besides a standard academic performance. You need to be a native resident of the United States to be eligible for this program.

Amount: $1000

Deadline: April 15, 2020

  1. Zombie Apocalypse Scholarships 

US students who are 13 years of age or older can apply for this scholarship program. You need to enrol in an accredited post-secondary institution of higher education to be eligible for the program. You will be asked something about Zombie Apocalypse and you need to write an imaginative response to that question. One winner will receive the scholarship award.

Amount: $2000

Deadline: October 31, 2020

  1. Make it With Wool’ Contest 

This one is available for high school and undergraduate students who are 24 years old or even younger. You need to have an interest in sewing, knitting or fashion design to be eligible for this program. Also, you must live in or study at a school that consists of an American Sheep Industry Association.

Amount: $2000

Deadline: November 15, 2020

  1. Charlie and Kathy Barnhart and Ken Haynes Scholarship Program 

The US graduating high school seniors who were residents of New Mexico for a year or so are eligible for this scholarship program. You also need to show the proof that you had attended a New Mexico high school to make the most of this program. Students with a GPA score of 3.0 or higher living in a manufactured home can apply.

Amount: $1000

Deadline: April 4, 2020

  1. National Marbles Tournament Scholarship 

Marble shooters can now apply for this scholarship program and fund their schooling easily. All you have to do it participate in the tournaments and earn scholarship dollars. You can also get the chance to be crowned the Queen or King of Marbles.

Amount: $2000

Deadline: July 22, 2020

  1. Parapsychological Association Research Endowment 

The study of psychic phenomena is known as parapsychology. You can apply for this program if you are interested in paranormal activities, telepathy, clairvoyance and psychokinesis. Students who have conducted enough research on these topics without the help of an Ouija board or a crystal ball can apply for the program.

Amount: $5000

Deadline: June 30, 2020

All in all, there are scholarship programs for students with variable interests. Most of these programs are based on your academic merit. So make sure you work hard on your academic assignments to make the most of these scholarship programs in the US.

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Hi, I am Mark, a Literature writer by profession. Fueled by a lifelong passion for Literature, story, and creative expression, I went on to get a PhD in creative writing. Over all these years, my passion has helped me manage a publication of my write ups in prominent websites and e-magazines. I have also been working part-time as a writing expert for for 5+ years now. It’s fun to guide students on academic write ups and bag those top grades like a pro. Apart from my professional life, I am a big-time foodie and travel enthusiast in my personal life. So, when I am not working, I am probably travelling places to try regional delicacies and sharing my experiences with people through my blog. 

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