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Regardless of whether you happen to be running your own business as an entrepreneur or you are thinking of attending a business major, a scholarship could be an excellent choice. You could also say that it would be a great investment, possibly your first one.

It’s an investment because you are firstly reducing a cost that you are going to have to pay for, and secondly, you are investing in the most precious asset at your disposal – you. It’s also important to remain focused. Just because COVID-19 is hitting the economy hard, does not mean you have to give up on your hopes and aspirations.

The following are the top 21 scholarships available right now. Keep in mind that you really need to know what you are after first and foremost. Focus makes you a better entrepreneur and business person. And by focusing on one particular area, your chances of acquiring the scholarship are greater.

1. Thiel Fellowship

Thiel FellowshipThis fellowship was founded by technology entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel in 2011.
It’s an interesting scholarship as it allows a lot of freedom to young entrepreneurs (under the age of 23) who are interested in additional funds. The large prize amount is spread over 2 years. This is not for students – in fact, you cannot be enrolled in any kind of course while taking advantage of this fellowship. Between 20 and 30 fellows are accepted each year, and their applications are accepted year-round.

For a successful application, you need to have a novel and entrepreneurial approach to life. In fact, the website (and founder) are critical of the standard approach of learning business in a classroom, which can only take you so far. You will have to drop out to qualify for this fellowship if you are currently enrolled in a university course. Big risks and big ideas are encouraged, so only the bold and brave will qualify for this fellowship.

Prize Amount: $100,000
Eligibility Requirements: Anybody aged 23 or younger who want to build new things instead of sitting in a classroom
Application Process: 500 words describing your project and/or company.
Application Deadline: No deadline, can apply at any time.

2. California Institute of Advanced Management (‘CIAM’) Community Scholarship

CiAMThis is the polar opposite of the Thiel Fellowship in nearly every way. You must be a current student of  CIAM  to apply, and with a high 3.0 GPA. The California Institute of Advanced Management (CIAM) is a 501c(3) non-profit university dedicated to connecting theory to application. Students who have developed an extraordinary service project in the last 5 years or have demonstrated a commitment to volunteer service for the last 10 years that helped people and the planet are eligible to apply.

CIAM actually offers many scholarships to students, not just the Community Scholarship. The application process is typically quite similar. The institutional scholarships are mainly for $3,000 towards tuition, while the program scholarships are for $12,000 towards tuition, and specific degrees only.

Prize Amount: $3,000
Eligibility Requirements: Current student of CIAM, US citizen, and 10-year previous commitment to a volunteer cause.
Application Process: Write a short essay of a minimum of 500 words explaining your background, challenges as a first-generation student pursuing a graduate degree, and how this scholarship would impact you, your future, and your family. One Letter of Recommendation from either a faculty member, employer, or community leader. Submit the scholarship application form, essay, and letter of recommendation before the deadline.
Application Deadline: 31st of August for application for the next year.

3. Business Leaders of Tomorrow Scholarship

The Scholarship for the Business Leaders of Tomorrow is provided annually by the Business Broker Network. Business Broker Network is dedicated to connecting business buyers and sellers through its online database of over 28,000 businesses and franchises. One winner will be selected and notified by the end of the year. Selection will be based primarily on the quality of submitted essays. The Scholarship for the Business Leaders of Tomorrow is available for U.S. college freshmen, sophomores, and juniors who are between the ages of 17 and 24.

Prize Amount: $2,000
Eligibility Requirements: Aged between 17 – 24, US student.
Application Process: 800-word essay, proof of enrollment.
Application Deadline: 30th October.

4. Cancer for College Leonard Family Entrepreneurial Spirit Scholarship

Cancer for College

Cancer For College is a charity that specializes in giving scholarships and financial aid to those in need of it (mainly due to adverse health conditions). Awards are around $5,000 each. Scholarship recipients must maintain full-time enrollment at his/her stated university. Failure to maintain full-time enrollment or transfer from a 4-year university to a community college may result in loss of scholarship funds. Graduate students receiving scholarships do not need to maintain full-time student status. Scholarship recipients experiencing health-related issues that force them to leave school may request a one-time extension of their scholarship, not to exceed one school year. Recipients exceeding this time will forgo their scholarship but may reapply when ready to return to school.

The Cancer for College scholarship application is completed completely online. It offers several scholarships for students suffering from a variety of serious ailments. For the Leonard Family Entrepreneurial Spirit Scholarship, the award is $5,000 and applicants must be a business major or related field with a desire to pursue a career in the food-service industry, and potentially own and operate a restaurant.

Prize Amount: $5,000
Eligibility Requirements: Diagnosed with cancer, planning to attend university full time, total parents income is not more than $150,000.
Application Process: Parents or personal tax statement, two years of previous college transcripts, confirmation of illness from a doctor, and a letter of recommendation from one person outside of the family.
Application Deadline: The application period opens on November 1 and closes on January 31 each year. The application requires some detailed information that you can find here.

5. The FormSwift Startup Scholarship Program

FormswiftFormswiftThis is one of the more fun and creative scholarship programs out there. Applicants may select from a total of 5 industries – startup, restaurant, non-profit, transportation, and clothing. They then make an infographic on one of these industries for a chance to win $1,000. The program runs 3 times a year with the deadlines of January 15, March 15, and September 15 for entry. So there are multiple opportunities to win this scholarship.

The only hard condition is that applicants must be graduating high school or enrolled in college. After this, you simply send the infographic and some details to a designated email address. International students are also welcome to apply. The idea behind the scholarship is that new entrepreneurs can hone some of the skills they will need after college.

Prize Amount: $1,000
Eligibility Requirements: US student attending or going to attend university. Cannot have friends/family who work at FormSwift.
Application Process: Send infographic to a designated email address. 

Application Deadline: The program runs 3 times a year with the deadlines of January 15, March 15, and September 15 for entry.

6. Kitchen Cabinet Kings Entrepreneur Scholarship

Scholarship Kitchen Cabinet Kings logoThis is a construction industry scholarship started by two entrepreneurs in the kitchen cabinet industry. Kitchen Cabinet Kings will award one $5,000 scholarship for the best-submitted entry determined by the Kitchen Cabinet Kings team. The scholarship will be awarded in check form, made payable directly to the winner. The deadline is June 30th, 2021. The winner to be announced on August 31st.

Prize Amount: $5,000
Eligibility Requirements: Any current college student or incoming freshman enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program in a 2021 semester. The student must be enrolled at an accredited American college, university, or trade school.
Application Process: Submit an essay with an online form through the site. The 2021 essay relates to how companies can take advantage of ways to make a profit while the population is mainly indoors.
Application Deadline: June 30th.

7. 1 Hotels Fellowship at E2

1 Hotels Fellowship at E2The name of this fellowship might be a little deceptive, as it is aimed at entrepreneurs aiming to solve environmental issues. 1 Hotels Fellows will work in partnership with NRDC’s Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) program to identify pressing environmental issues and needs across the country, and then organize and execute projects that help communicate and amplify the business and economic case for smart policies to address these issues. The funds are intended to be put towards the project.

Each year, E2 selects 10 new clean energy business leaders who can put their stamp on the educational, political, and business landscape in Climate Change, Clean Energy, Food &, Agriculture, Healthy Communities, Oceans, Clean Water, Nature & Wildlife. E2 looks for projects that can address these challenges through organizing, research, advocacy, and other creative solutions. The Fellowships will run from January – December.

Prize Amount: $20,000
Eligibility Requirements: Early to mid-career professional only, time to commit to project, US citizen. Groups cannot apply.
Application Process: Submit detailed project proposals online.
Application Deadline: Deadline date unknown.

8. Grasshopper Entrepreneur Scholarship

Grasshopper Entrepreneur ScholarshipFounded by two entrepreneurs, Grasshopper has been making it easier to start and grow a small business since 2003. It was started as just two guys with a dream and to date have served over 300,000 entrepreneurs. The Grasshopper scholarship is worth $5,000 for the winners. The eligibility criteria are that the candidate is enrolled in a US college or trade school with a current GPA of 3.0. The deadline is August 30th and the essay topics vary each year but are based around a current or future business model. Basically, if you are a current undergraduate with an idea to start a business, this could be the perfect start.

Prize Amount: $5,000
Eligibility Requirements: Enrolled in a US university or trade school.
Application Process: Online submission of essay and details.
Application Deadline: 30th August.

9. Insureon Small Business Scholarship

Insureon Small Business ScholarshipInsureon is an insurance company that offers 2 prizes of $2,500 for winners of its scholarship. To qualify, candidates must be currently attending a 4-year undergraduate. The deadline is 30th April 2021. No GPA average is required for this small business scholarship. The candidate simply needs to have a business idea and pitch it via online submission.

Prize Amount: $2,500 for 2 winners.
Eligibility Requirements: Current US undergraduate.
Application Process: Submissions via email. A short essay between 500 -750 words.
Application Deadline: 30th April

10. GreenPal Scholarship for Tomorrow’s Entrepreneur

Greenpal Scholarship For Tomorrows EntrepreneurThe purpose of The GreenPal Small Business Scholarship is to assist a motivated, driven student and future business leader. The program believes that the generation of today’s students is the future employers of tomorrow.

If you currently run a small business while attending college or have a small business idea to start while you plan to attend college, you are invited to attend. The winner is announced in December of each year.

However, the standard for this scholarship is a little higher than most. Applicants must show a lot of ambition and maintain a GPA above 3.5. Further, they have to major in business, economics, or finance. To apply for the scholarship, current or future students must email a short submission essay (500 – 1000 words) along with a photo to a designated email address.

Prize Amount: $2,000
Eligibility Requirements: 3.5 average GPA. Business, economics, or finance major in a US university.
Application Process: Online essay submission via email.
Application Deadline: The deadline to apply is Nov 15th of each running year.

11. National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation Scholarships

National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation ScholarshipsThe National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation provides multiple merit-based scholarships to students pursuing degrees related to the restaurant industry (to include majors within the culinary, hospitality, and food-service fields). Scholarship award amounts range between $2,500 and $10,000. Deadlines are March 31st, 2021

In addition to the general NRAEF scholarships, several named leadership scholarships are also available through the application portal. Requirements may vary but all applicants must be pursuing a degree related to the restaurant industry. There are some niche scholarships here for those pursuing business majors that are heavily associated with restaurants. Many of these scholarships are run in conjunction with other organizations, such as Choose Restaurants, where you can find a definitive list of culinary scholarships on offer.

Prize Amount: $2,500 – $10,000
Eligibility Requirements: US Students in restaurant-related majors.
Application Process: Varies depending on the particular scholarship in question.
Application Deadline: 31st March.

12. BlueVine Young Entrepreneurs Scholarship

BlueVine Young Entrepreneurs ScholarshipBlueVine, which helps small businesses address their working capital needs with access to fast funding, is offering two $5,000 scholarships to college or graduate students interested in pursuing careers as entrepreneurs. The BlueVine Young Entrepreneurs scholarship program aims to motivate and support aspiring business owners in undergraduate and graduate programs related to entrepreneurship. The scholarships will be offered in the spring and fall semesters.
BlueVine is launching the scholarship program to recognize the contributions of small businesses to their communities, employees, and communities.

Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.3 to be considered. One scholarship will be awarded in the spring, and another in the fall. Each applicant must submit a 600 to 800-word essay on what drives his or her passion to start a business. The essay must include details on how the scholarship can help the applicant succeed in school and later as an entrepreneur.

Prize Amount: Two $5,000 amounts to be awarded.
Eligibility Requirements: Current US student with a minimum of 3.3 GPA.
Application Process: Online submissions with an essay.
Application Deadline: Unknown.

13. Catherine Reynolds Foundation Scholarship

Catherine Reynolds Foundation ScholarshipThis is for social entrepreneurs only, enrolled in New York University. Each year, the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation awards over 40 undergraduate scholarships to provide $20,000 in tuition assistance to outstanding social entrepreneurship students who have or are planning to develop an innovative idea that sustainably addresses a specific societal problem.

Qualified applicants must be enrolled full-time at NYU, be completing their sophomore year, have a minimum overall GPA of 3.5, and wish to participate in a summer internship with other social entrepreneurial leaders after their junior year. For consideration, all students must submit a current resume, official transcript, biographical sketch, and 500-word essay detailing how they plan to bring their social entrepreneurial ideas to fruition.

Prize Amount: $20,000
Eligibility Requirements: New York University students only, 3.5 GPA average, interested in social entrepreneurialism.
Application Process: Current resume, official transcript, biographical sketch, and a 500-word essay on a specific social problem.
Application Deadline: January 15th

14. Global Good Fund Fellowship for Social Entrepreneurs

Global Good Fund Fellowship for Social EntrepreneursGlobal Good Fund has a lot of scholarship offerings and projects to assist aspiring entrepreneurs and those who want to benefit humanity at large. The Global Good Fund Fellowship is a 12-month program supporting the leadership development of social enterprise leaders across the globe.

The Global Good Fund develops each fellow by pairing them with a business executive as a mentor, and through providing leadership assessment resources, a network of peers, sector expertise, and targeted financial capital. Ideal Fellows are dedicated to their own self-discovery and development, under 40 years of age, hold a leadership position at their social enterprise, operating for 3-5 years, and demonstrate coachability. For more details on the prize and application, you have to sign up for a newsletter.

Prize Amount: Unknown.
Eligibility Requirements: Leader at social innovation company, under 40, 3 – 5 years in a leadership role.
Application Process: Unknown.
Application Deadline: Unknown.

15. Halstead Grant

Halstead GrantTechnically, this is a grant and definitely a niche one! However, it is very well-known. The Halstead Grant is for jewelers who are creative and have big plans. $5,000 in cash will be award to the winner, along with a $1,000 gift certificate. The Halstead grant program has been in operation since 2006. To qualify, you must be a student or a jeweler for less than 3 years. It is for new startups in the jewelry field and not for established professionals.

Prize Amount: $7,500 + $1,000 for merchandise.
Eligibility Requirements: Jeweler that works with silver or student with jewelry ambitions.
Application Process: Detailed business plan submission along with long grant application form (downloadable from website).
Application Deadline: 1st August.

16. Triadex Services Scholarship

Triadex Services ScholarshipThe Triadex Services Scholarship Program supports college students each year with scholarships for recipients who excel academically and in service to others. Most Triadex Services Scholarship recipients share a passion for marketing, entrepreneurship, technology, and helping to make their communities better places to live, work, and grow.

This scholarship is available to those currently enrolled in a US college or their last year of high school with enrollment awaiting. Students must be attending a course in marketing, business, entrepreneurship, or technology to qualify. The minimum average GPA is 3.3 and the scholarship is not available to temporary residents or international students. Besides, applicants cannot have friends/family who work at Triadex. Up to 5 awards are given every year. Individual awards range from $250-$750.

Prize Amount: $250 – $750, 5 times a year.
Eligibility Requirements: Current or future US student in marketing, business, entrepreneurship, or technology.
Application Process: Email the application form online.
Application Deadline: Anytime. Awards granted quarterly.

17. Lily Pabilona Emerging Entrepreneur Scholarship

Triadex Services ScholarshipThe Lily Pabilona Emerging Entrepreneur Scholarship is funded by entrepreneurs Grace and Ranier Pabilona. The Scholarship recognizes Asian American high school, graduate, and post-graduate students pursuing a career in entrepreneurship. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, nationals, or permanent residents.

Applicants must also be either a high school senior or a college student currently enrolled full-time at an accredited U.S. vocational, junior college or four-year college/university and must be a full-time, associate/bachelor/master degree-seeking student by the upcoming academic calendar year. The minimum GPA is 3.0 and the applicant must be at least 25% Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity. Applicants must demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit and the applicant must also be a small business owner.

Prize Amount: $1,000 – $5,000 depending on the quality of the application.
Eligibility Requirements: Students with at least 25% Asian/Pacific Islander ethnicity. Must also be a small business owner.
Application Process: Online essay submission, along with letters of recommendation and phone/video interview.
Application Deadline: 31st May 2021

18. Al Schuman Ecolab Entrepreneurial Scholarship

Ranging in value from $3,000 to $5,500 annually, the Al Schuman Ecolab Entrepreneurial Scholarship is granted through the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) to highly ambitious, dedicated, innovative, and creative undergraduate students who clearly demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit. Eligible candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents, be enrolled in a partnering accredited university in a food service management-related program, carry at least nine credits per term, and have a minimum GPA of 3.0. Students will present a 750-word describing their future innovative entrepreneurial goals and how they’ll impact the restaurant or food-service industry.

Prize Amount: $3,000 – $5,000 annually.
Eligibility Requirements: US students in a food service management field, average GPA of 3.0 or above.
Application Process: 750-word essay describing their vision. Two recommendation letters with the application form.
Application Deadline: March 14th.

19. Media Fellows Scholarship

Washington Media Scholars Foundation (WMSF) The Washington Media Scholars Foundation (WMSF) provides the opportunity for college students to gain firsthand knowledge of the public policy advertising world through scholarship and networking opportunities. The primary majors would include Advertising, Marketing, Communications, Business, Political Science, and Strategic Media. The financial details of the scholarship are unknown, but the WMSF also runs media case competitions with prizes of $5,000, $2,500 given out to the winners.

The Media Fellows program is the Foundation’s essay-based scholarship program, striving to provide financial assistance to undergraduate college students with interests at the intersection of advertising and public policy. Successful Media Fellows Scholarship submissions include an essay that includes the student’s personal financial need statement as well as a description of their academic achievements and career aspirations. Only current students may apply, not future students.

Prize Amount: Not specified.
Eligibility Requirements: US major student in related area (mainly Advertising, Marketing, Communications, Business, Political Science, and Strategic Media).
Application Process: Online form with attached essay.
Application Deadline: July 16 & November 16, 2021.

20. Hostgator Website Scholarship

Hostgator Website ScholarshipHostgator are a well-known provider of web services, particularly web hosting and design. HostGator’s annual scholarship program aims to help aspiring entrepreneurs pay for their education while sharing their thoughts and visions for a world shaped by the internet. HostGator itself was founded in a college dorm room back in 2002 and the founders are eager to help out undergraduates. A $1,500 prize is given to 3 winners after answering an essay question. Students of all majors are welcome to apply.

Prize Amount: $1,500 for 3 winners.
Eligibility Requirements: Current US undergraduate student.
Application Process: Submit a 500-word essay along with your personal details.
Application Deadline: 30th November.

21. AFCEA Young Entrepreneur Scholarship

 AFCEA Young Entrepreneur ScholarshipThrough the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA), a Young Entrepreneur Scholarship program was created to provide $2,000 to students aged 40 or under who are pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree while employed by a small business. All applicants must be at least second-year students, be enrolled in an accredited U.S. institution, carry a minimum overall GPA of 3.0, and exhibit entrepreneurial talents. With the application, candidates should attach an official transcript, a letter from their current small business employer, and a letter from a faculty member displaying their potential as an entrepreneur.

Prize Amount: $2,000
Eligibility Requirements: Students under 40, at least in the second year of university, 3.0 GPA average.
Application Process: The official transcript, a letter from your current employer, and a letter from a faculty member.
Application Deadline: May 1st.

Tips on Applying for Scholarships

Applying for a scholarship might seem like a no-brainer. But, like everything in a capitalist society, the very best are the ones that get the rewards. And they get a disproportionate amount of the spoils. You can’t just casually apply for a scholarship and hope to get accepted. What have you done for the community? What sets you apart? What independent business ventures have you created?

You have to have a clear vision that inspires the panel of judges that reads your submission. And you need to think clearly about how long to spend on each application and how much research to do. This page is a great start! The following are 7 tips that will help you to not just apply for but hopefully win a scholarship.

#1 – Do Your Research

If you are serious about winning a scholarship, then make sure that you are organized in your approach. Make a giant spreadsheet of all of the scholarships that you actually have a chance of winning. When you have narrowed this down, then it is time to focus on the ones where you are still a match. You’d be surprised concerning how many people apply for business scholarships without being eligible. Once organized, set yourself a deadline for application and tick them off the list when complete.

#2 – Apply Early and Often

The fact of the matter is that there are many, many, many scholarships. And there are infinitely more people applying for those scholarships. You can simply never know what the judges prefer, what the competition is going to be like, and how long it will take to apply. If you are serious about a scholarship, it is certainly best to play the numbers game. Applying for scholarships is often slow and boring, so it’s best to be organized, patient, and early.

#3 – Stand Out

This might seem a little obvious. But there are many ways you can stand out, and most people will forget to distinguish themselves. Include letters of recommendation, and highlight accolades and achievements. You need to have a selling proposition in all of your scholarship applications. It is no different in actual business – what sets you apart?

#4 – Leverage Essay Writing

Many people hate to write and avoid essay scholarships. However, this is a poor decision for multiple reasons. The first is that, in recent years, more and more scholarships are requiring essays (though usually short) as part of the application process. But the second is that essay writing is an important skill to have. Besides, you can easily repurpose your essay and use it to apply to other scholarships with a little tweaking.

#5 – Avoid Scams

Though a minute proportion of grant programs will require a fee for the application, you will practically never be asked to submit a fee for a scholarship. So if you are asked for payment, then you can be almost 100% sure that it’s a scam of some kind. However, many of them will ask for personal information, and this is where it can get a little tricky. Ensure that contract information is publicly available and that the scholarship has been running for at least a year. Never give out your social security number.

#6 – Don’t Avoid Smaller Amounts

It can be tempting to avoid smaller amounts while you focus on the grand prize. But statistics would dictate that there is going to be more competition that you have to beat. Don’t scoff at $1,000, as it could prove invaluable to you. It will also provide valuable experience and there are non-financial incentives, such as networking and mentoring. 

#7 – Have Fun & Learn Along the Way

Applying to scholarships can seem like a chore – but it does not have to be. It is a business project, and you are going to be dealing with a lot more of them! But some of the essay writing competitions can be viewed as a way of clarifying your business position. Get creative – think of ways to apply for many competitions with fewer applications. 

There are many creative projects out there (such as the FormSwift Startup Scholarship Program) where you learn a business skill while submitting. Look at grants and competitions at the same time as you are exploring scholarships. The application is similar. One thing is for certain – if you apply for grants regularly, you are gaining a skill that will stay with you for life. You are going to be making many more applications in the future in the world of business and finance.

Most Prestigious Business Scholarships

So, what are the best business scholarships for business majors? Well, that question is a little bit difficult to answer in isolation. It depends on what you are looking for. And the top business scholarships are also the ones that you are the least likely to acquire! The following are some of the biggest universities with the biggest financial incentives:

  • Harvard Business School – With a $34 million financial aid budget, the Harvard Business School (‘HBS’) provides need-based support to roughly half of its MBA students. As of 2021, the average HBS financial aid package is about $40,000 per year, or $80,000 total for the two-year course. Besides, the HBS financial aid team helps students find loans to cover the full MBA cost — not just tuition fees but living, travel, and other expenses. The issue is that even with the financial aid, you still have a hefty bill. The MBA at Harvard costs around $150,000 per year. But if you do manage to afford and complete this MBA, then you most certainly have a rich and lucrative future ahead of you.
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business – Stanford offers generous scholarships to help MBA students fund the full cost of attendance. They are gifts that do not have to be repaid. The average GSB award is about $35,000 per year or $70,000 in total awards. They are awarded on a needs basis. Once students are admitted, GSB calculates expected student contribution to fees based on their financial situation. The gap between the cost of attendance and the expected student contribution is covered by a combination of scholarships and loans.
  • Duke University School of Business – Every admitted applicant is considered for a merit scholarship, which ranges from partial to full tuition for the entire two-year MBA — some MBA candidates have been known to receive financial awards as high as $66,000. The awards are based on prior academic achievement, demonstrated leadership qualities, community involvement, extracurricular work, and professional accomplishments. Several specific scholarships are also available. They include the Keller Scholars scheme that covers 100 percent of tuition for exceptional students. And the school also provides several assistance schemes to attract students who want to become social entrepreneurs.

Practically all of the top universities will offer scholarship programs. But you will need to have an outstanding resume and undergraduate to pursue either an MBA or a 4-year undergraduate course to qualify for one.

Niche Scholarships

Aside from the standard scholarships that everybody is gunning for, there are a large number of ‘niche’ scholarships that might be worth a shot. This is not a definitive list, but you might find it useful:

  • Actuarial Diversity Scholarship – The Actuarial Foundation is a philanthropic organization composed of actuaries and actuarial firms, bringing educational resources, financial literacy programs, free public services, and scholarships and awards to students and citizens since 2004. As one of the most desirable careers (with high pay and responsibility) and one of the most in-demand in the US corporate sector (since experienced, expert actuaries are in short supply), the Actuarial Foundation is dedicated to promoting the field for young people and students.
  • The Adelante U.S. Education Leadership Fund – Adelante is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Hispanic students stay in college and succeed in their careers, was originally founded as a co-sponsored scholarship from Miller Brewing Company and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). With a mission to prevent dropout and foster professional education for financially at-risk Hispanic students, Adelante focuses on professional development, corporate career guidance, and networking for talented Hispanic students. The Adelante fund wants to see students demonstrate their innovation and promise, so best foot forward – Adelante wants leaders. Adelante also sponsors regional scholarships for Hispanic business students in Colorado and the Chicago Metropolitan region).
  • The Association of Insurance Compliance Professionals (AICP) – AICP is a leading professional organization dedicated to best practices and upholding industry standards in the insurance compliance field. Insurance compliance officers ensure that insurance companies and brokers maintain all federal, state, and local regulations and, according to Reuters, have become increasingly important as regulations and market forces have increased pressure on the insurance industry. With this need for qualified professionals, the AICP offers up to three $1500 scholarships for undergraduate or graduate students in several business-related majors, including Finance, Actuarial Science, and, of course, Insurance. The AICP wants to encourage promising young students to enter the insurance field, where their expertise is needed, so applicants showing a dedication to insurance (as in work or internships) have an advantage.
  • Bold360 Artificial Intelligence Scholarship – Artificial intelligence is definitely a unique field, and potentially one that is quite lucrative. The Bold360 Artificial Intelligence Scholarship is designed to provide students, of any major, a helping hand as they work toward their future goals. The total prize amount is $6, 000 ($5,000 to be spent on tuition and $1,000 on books). Submission deadlines are in May. The applicants must send a 500 – 700 word essay and have a 3.0 GPA average.
  • CEO of Tomorrow Scholarship – With the intent of being a source of inspiration for future chief executives, the CEO of Tomorrow Scholarship is awarded each year for $2,500 for outstanding college students interested in entrepreneurship and/or business leadership. Eligible applicants must be legal residents of the United States, be at least 18 years old, have current full-time enrollment in an accredited university, and compose a 600-word original essay describing their entrepreneurial talents. All potential winners will be required to submit an affidavit of eligibility, publicity release form, headshot photograph, IRS Form W-9, and copy of their driver’s license digitally. The deadline is June 1st.
  • Don DeBolt Franchising Scholarship Program – In collaboration with the International Franchise Association (IFA) Educational Foundation, the Don DeBolt Franchising Scholarship Program is offered annually through DECA for $2,000 to two members who have a clear interest in pursuing entrepreneurship and/or franchising course of study in higher education. Applicants must be enrolling in an accredited U.S. institution, have a major or primary focus in business, and remain in good academic standing. Along with the tuition support, recipients will receive a travel stipend for attending the DECA and Delta Epsilon Chi International Career Development Conference that year. The deadline is January 16th.
  • Frank And Jean Raymond Foundation Scholarship – Annually, the Frank J. and Jean Raymond Foundation provide a $5,000 scholarship for current undergraduate students who have demonstrated an interest in entrepreneurship and/or participated in the entrepreneurship program at Mays Business School in Texas A&M University. Applicants must have two years remaining before graduation, carry a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, and be involved in activities offered through the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE). All applications must be accompanied by at least one letter of recommendation, a current resume, and a 1,000-word personal statement of entrepreneurial interests. The deadline is February 1st.

There are actually too many ‘niche’ scholarships to delve into in detail. There are financial aid incentives and scholarship options in practically every area you can imagine. Your job is to be razor-focused in terms of what you are looking for and create a strong application for your scholarship. Your selling proposition needs to be incredibly strong and even then, it is best to play the numbers game and apply to multiple programs to increase your chances.

Demographics/Statistics of the Scholarship Ecosystem

Every year, more than 1.7 million scholarships and fellowships are awarded. The total value of the scholarship/fellowship ‘industry’ is nearly $8 billion. The table below details the average cost of a scholarship and the total percentage of attendees who were able to obtain one. As can be seen, the amounts and numbers are increasing.

Academic Year Number of Scholarships Total Amount of Scholarships Average Scholarship Percentage with Scholarships
1989-1990 526,000 $695 million $1,321 3.2%
1992-1993 639,000 $920 million $1,441 3.5%
1995-1996 594,300 $920 million $1,547 3.6%
1999-2000 1,397,000 $2.9 billion $2,065 8.4%
2003-2004 1,289,900 $2.5 billion $1,961 6.8%
2007-2008 1,092,400 $2.7 billion $2,509 5.3%
2011-2012 1,811,500 $6.2 billion $3,431 7.9%
2015-2016 1,581,000 $6.1 billion $3,852 8.1%

Premium Resources for US Business Students

There are many resources for US business students or business people looking to take on some university courses. Too many to list in detail, as the world of business is such a vast area. Below are some of the best resources for people looking to enhance their general knowledge and in terms of becoming a successful entrepreneur for the long-term. But you will find more specific resources as you focus your search and find out what it is you really want to do.

  • Absolute Internships  – Work in Beijing, Singapore, London, or one of many other exotic locations as you gain valuable work experience in a variety of businesses such as accounting, human resources, business development, marketing, and other fields. Remote internships available, which are especially useful during COVID 19.
  • Scholarships.com – Provides a neat summary of all available scholarships in the USA, with eligibility requirements, availability, and total prize amount. Unigo and Fastweb are other premium resources for finding scholarships.
  • The Brookings Institute (Research) – Portal to the Brookings Institute’s vast library of business research and data. Topics include foreign policy, economics, development, governance, and metropolitan policy.
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) – A branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The BEA’s website provides an enormous repository of economic data regarding all aspects of the nation’s economy.
  • How To Write an MBA Research Paper – Brief but helpful guide to write a research paper on business. Published by the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University.
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) – Possibly the most visited government website for information and data on U.S. jobs. The BLS is the principal Federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy.
  • U.S. Census Bureau – Statistics of U.S. Businesses (SUSB) – The SUSB provides detailed annual data for U.S. businesses by geography, industry, and enterprise size. SUSB covers most of the country’s economic activity except for non-employer businesses, private households, railroads, agricultural production, and most government entities.
  • Overdrive – Books are the entrepreneur’s best friend. Overdrive allows access to over 2 million Ebooks if you have a library card. You can find great business books here and on sites such as LeanPub and Dale Carnegie Training. The majority of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs recommended reading good books. Knowledge is power.
  • Coursera – There are many free online courses on Coursera about business, finance, economics, marketing, and many other modules. John Hopkins University is another great resource also offering business courses, as is Udemy.
  • LinkedIn – For business students, this is superior to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It is for career professionals and not merely a social platform. If you are applying for a scholarship, then a LinkedIn account is very useful. But many professionals will ask if you are on LinkedIn even if you are not directly applying for a position. It’s the premium online networking resource at your disposal, and you can use it wisely to enhance your business career.

There are many resources at your disposal, many of them completely free. But the key to long-term success is focus and specialization. Do you want to be a public speaker? Do you want to practice leadership skills? Are you interested in statistics, math, or economics? Do you want to learn how to write a good application letter? Pinpoint exactly what you are looking for first and foremost, and then find the resources to support that particular characteristic or trait.

And it needs to be emphasized that there is no substitute for direct practice in the field. Reading is great, but don’t spend your life reading books on something. Do it. Skills are only gained through direct experience.  If you want to learn to write, write. If you want to learn public speaking, then speak in public. If you want to learn to start a business, then start a business, no matter how small.

Psychological Attributes – What Makes for a Successful US Entrepreneur?

The character traits that make for a good entrepreneur are mainly self-evident. You need to be:

  1. Confident.
  2. Well-spoken.
  3. Aggressive.
  4. Single-Minded.
  5. Decisive.

There are all traits commonly found among successful entrepreneurs. The fact is that if you want to be heard, you need to get your product/service out there, negotiate, and be able to respond well to criticism. Passivity is one of the worst traits an entrepreneur can have.

And if you want a scholarship, you need to be aggressive and confident with your business idea. Free money does not fall into your lap – you need to justify why you are the best. Look at the scholarship application (and all other applications) as a way to become a better entrepreneur. After all, if you can’t justify why you deserve the scholarship, who are you going to justify the long list of future investments and business opportunities?

It’s also worth keeping in mind that there are certain burdens associated with being an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurial burnout is common if you do not have appropriate rest and relaxation. Entrepreneurs are often lonely and because of the high expectations they set on themselves, they can be frequently overstressed. Assess your personality to see where you are strong and where you might need some support.

Finding Your Area of Interest

Don’t make the mistake of applying for a scholarship just because it’s free. As important as money is, if you pursue wealth without typing it into your creative pursuits, you are sure to fail. Because without interest and motivation to back it up, you will not be able to sustain a career for the long term. This is why entrepreneurial burnout is rampant in the US and Europe.

But this raises the question of how to find your area of interest and make it work for you, at a time when you do not have enough life experience to make this decision. The best thing to do is to follow your instincts, which is a core entrepreneurial trait. Just because you are good at something does not mean you should do it for the long-term, no matter how well paid it is. Because you are, literally, trading money for time, and that is a losing play all day every day. None of the top entrepreneurs trade money for time. They simply compound wealth and let time make money for them. 

Find something that you are passionate about and that you enjoy doing. Then see what the opportunities are in that particular field. And remember to ignore the advice of other people who tell you what you should do – they have their own lives to live and their own paths to take, which will be completely different from yours.

Whatever you decide, the key to finding your interest is immersion. This means that you try out what you are doing and see how well you handle it. If you absolutely love it and can see yourself doing it for years to come, then you have found your area of interest – and you are going to be very, very good at it. Many people work at a job they hate and use coffee and stimulants to try and get them through it – and it always catches up with them, sooner or later.

Conclusion

There is no shortage of available scholarships. Follow the application tips above to enhance your chances of success. A scholarship looks good on your resume while also cutting down on the expensive US university costs.

If you don’t succeed, nothing has been lost. Keep applying for grants, scholarships, and competitions, and your skills will increase.

FAQ

What Is the Difference Between a Fellowship and a Scholarship?

A fellowship is often used interchangeably with a scholarship but has a different meaning. The word scholarship always implies financial aid. So if you get a scholarship your tuition and/or living expenses will be provided for, to greater or lesser degrees. But no such provision is provided with a fellowship. The fellowship only allows for a certain position, and that’s it. It is often granted by more prestigious universities. This is why people apply for fellowships, as the indirect benefits of being a ‘fellow’ at Cambridge or Harvard are worth the financial costs. The networking opportunities are huge and the research facilities are excellent.

What Is the Difference Between a Grant and a Scholarship?

Grants and scholarships are technically both ‘gift aids’. This is the legal definition for tax purposes. Financial compensation is given without having to be repaid (though there are often some terms and conditions attached). However, the similarities end there. A grant is given based on financial need. Universities will often give grants to people from underprivileged communities or perhaps those suffering from a disease. A grant will often take into consideration the cost of the degree along with the earning power of your parents. In contrast, a scholarship will often only be granted on merit, when you achieve excellent results or achievements.

Should I Apply for a Grant, Fellowship, or Scholarship?

It depends on your unique situation and what you are looking for. The best advice is to investigate all three after drilling down on your specific field and area. There are many competitions and grant programs available outside of the university field that you can apply for. Make a spreadsheet of grants, fellowships, and scholarships available in your field (economics, finance, technology, etc). The more specific your niche and the more focused you are, the better your chances of success. Many scholarships and grants will not cover the full tuition.

What Are the Common Requirements for a Scholarship?

There is great variance depending on what scholarship you are going for. However, business scholarships do exhibit certain patterns. You will need to maintain an average of 3.0 GPA minimum to qualify. On top of this, you need to submit an essay on a specific topic. You need a strong case as to why you should qualify, and one or two letters of recommendation are always a good choice. Even if the letters of recommendation are not required, it helps to submit them. Financial need is also taken into account. Ideally, you would be an exceptional student that simply cannot afford university as it is. If you can easily afford a scholarship, then you are unlikely to gain a scholarship.

What Is the Typical Cost of Study in the USA?

According to Statistica, the average cost to attend a 4-year university course in the USA is $18,000 (in-state), $31,000 (out of state), and $40,000 (for private universities). But it also depends on where you attend and what kind, of course, you are pursuing. The best business schools in the USA include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Stanford, the University of Berkeley California, and the University of Michigan. To attend them the costs can be quite expensive, around double the average. For an MBA in a top business school, you can expect to pay around $150,000 a year. This is why scholarships are grants are an absolute necessity for most seeking to apply. You really have to consider whether it is worth the money because, at the end of the day, it’s an investment.

What Are the Factors I Should Consider When Applying for a Business Scholarship?

Put yourself in the shoes of the panel judging the application. They are looking for bright, eager, motivated students who are seeking to change the existing system with new ideas at a good university. Your application has to stand out to succeed. At the same time, you need to do your homework, and consider that the competition will be tough to beat. Have letters of recommendation from people outside the family and make sure your essay is unique to the school of application, and not just copy and paste. You can use a similar structure but the essay itself has to be tweaked towards the institution. It is a myth that scholarships are awarded on grades alone. Beat the average and then stand out with cover letters and a great essay.

What Are the Advantages of a Scholarship?

A scholarship is a competition. You are up against many applicants and have to convince a panel of judges that you are worthy of the ‘job’. If you win, you get free or partially paid tuition at the university. Of course, there are many non-financial incentives for a scholarship. You are practicing your skills at writing applications and cover letters, which is always useful. And what you are really doing is honing your marketing skills, and they are really useful. You are always going to be marketing yourself and your story, regardless of the context. Applying for scholarships is a great way to increase your skills. You also get opportunities to network and promote the fact that you won a scholarship. In itself, winning a scholarship shows that you are focused and skilled.

How Can I Write a Good Essay?

There is no single formula for writing a scholarship essay. But there are most certainly elements that you will need to include. At the very minimum, your essay needs to be submitted on time, without errors, and adhere to the word count and general format. You need to mention your past achievements, particularly what you have done that has benefited the community (judges nearly always favor applicants with a broader focus on their ambitions). You then need to tie in why you are such a good fit for the university of application and what you can contribute. Promote the university (subtly) in your essay and why you want to get into this particular institution instead of the competitors.

What Is the Difference Between a Full Ride and a Full-Tuition Scholarship?

Scholarships will often cover tuition costs (the costs of attending directly). But there are many other costs of attending university.  You need to buy a laptop, pay rent, pay for transport and insurance, eat, socialize, etc. This is known as the full Cost of Attendance (‘COA’). The full-ride scholarship will pay for all of this. You may even get a laptop. Full ride scholarships are exceedingly rare. One example of a full-ride scholarship is the University of Virginia Jefferson Scholars Foundation. This award covers the entire COA for four years at the University. Tuition, fees, books, supplies, room, board, and personal expenses. It also pays for extra enrichment experiences. The University of Oregon offers the Stamps Leadership Scholarship. It pays for tuition, room, and board plus up to $12,000 in enrichment funds for their four years at the university. The extra money may cover study abroad and unpaid internships.

What Is the Average Amount Granted by a Scholarship Program?

The majority of scholarships will pay for tuition only, and many times only partial tuition. Recent figures also show that only 0.2 percent of students got $25,000 or more in scholarships per year. And as seen by the table above, the average amount awarded from a scholarship is around $3000 per year. The bottom line is that scholarships are definitely worth aiming for, and will increase your skills. But you need to be above the rest and very organized in order to make it work for you.

How Many Scholarships Are Available in the US?

The National Center for Education Statistics reports there are 750,000 scholarships earmarked for qualified students, totaling $1.2 billion. Much of that money comes from Uncle Sam. In fact, nearly 40 percent of enrolled college kids receive free government money in the form of Pell Grants. However, as mentioned previously, very few scholarships are full-ride, and few will cover the full cost of tuition. So while they are available, you have to demonstrate why you deserve them and what makes you stand out.

My Scholarship Application Was Not Accepted. What Next?

The odds are always going to be against you, in any competition. Thankfully, there are a plethora of ways to avail of financial aid. There are many other grants and programs run by companies looking for new talent and young entrepreneurs with novel ideas for success. There are also Federal programs available. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an official form. Its purpose is to ask for federal, state, and school help in paying for college.

What Are the Most Common Scholarship Interview Questions?

There are many questions that can be asked in an interview for a scholarship. But the ones you need to be prepared for are simple and obvious. They include:

  • Can you tell us about yourself?
  • What are your greatest strengths?
  • What are your greatest weaknesses?
  • Why did you choose this institution?
  • Why did you choose this particular scholarship?
  • Who has been a role model for you?
  • Have you ever done anything for the community?
  • Can you tell us about a mistake you made and how you resolved it?
  • Where do you picture yourself in 5 years?
  • What is your greatest accomplishment?
Daniel Lewis
Daniel Lewis is an MBA accredited investment professional who wants to assist small business owners to gain access to finance. After going through many channels for funding, Lewis has found that getting the first loan right is vitally important for future success.

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