Scholarships for Anything

I have no idea how dated the things I say are.  But I assume that through the magic of syndicated TV, pretty much everybody knows who George Costanza is—if you don’t, I highly recommend that you watch a few episodes of “Seinfeld” to catch up…just make sure one of them is “The Dealership.”  In between his constant complaining about the trials and tribulations of being a, “Short, stocky, slow-witted bald man” George would somehow manage to utter something that could be considered philosophical brilliance.  For this portion of the Moneysmarts blog, the goal is to take my personal favorite George Costanza quote, and use it to serve as a model for becoming more efficient in our financial lives, and post a new tip every so often that follows the sage-like advice of this modern-day Confucius.  Without further ado, I present to you, the quote… 

Why should I pay, when if I apply myself, maybe I could get it for free?

George Costanza with his walletOk, so I’m going to throw out a quick disclaimer, this series of blog posts may not necessarily provide you with ways to get things for free, but it certainly will provide you with ways to save money (legally, of course) and still be able to do the things that you’re accustomed to.

George’s quote stems from a conversation about why he chooses not to park his car in a garage and rather find a place along the street.  And if you think about, the cost savings is pretty great (even if you assume $100/month for parking--which I’m guessing is absurdly low in New York City--that’s $1,200/year savings), and all he had to do is take the time to try and find a spot.

In the world of college, parking and, on a greater scale, transportation are categories of spending that can be better controlled to help you save money.  But I’m not particularly in the mood to talk about those categories right now (someday, maybe).  Instead, I want to focus on the coolest of topics: paying for school.

Did you realize that the root of application is apply?  I didn’t until I thought about is 30 seconds ago.  Anyway, where I’m going with this is that there are tons of opportunities out there for students to get free (as in no need to pay it back) money for college if they find a scholarship that they qualify for.  And before you go and say “Phil, I don’t qualify for any scholarships” I will tell you that there’s a scholarship for everything…and I mean everything.  Need an example that’s close to home?  In the Kelley School of Business in Bloomington there is a scholarship that is designed to be awarded to accounting majors who are twins, with preference for identical twins (http://kelley.iu.edu/ugrad/admissions/scholarship/DescribeSchol.cfm?schol_id=110).  Honestly, how random is that? 

Not random enough for you? How about a $5,000 scholarship for being the best dressed prom couple where your outfits have to be made out of Duck brand duct tape (http://www.duckbrand.com/Promotions/stuck-at-prom.aspx)?  Based on the pictures, that’s a tough one to win.

Need one more? How about a $3,000 scholarship simply for reading an essay about Fire Sprinklers and then taking a ten question, multiple choice test—I will make a disclaimer here that it is essentially a raffle, but still a chance to win $3,000 is worth an essay on Fire Sprinklers, right? (http://www.afsascholarship.org/secondchanceinformation.html)

The point is that there are tons of scholarships out there that you could apply for that could help you may for some, if not all, of your schooling.  All it takes is sitting down for an hour a day, searching the internet, and filling out the application (i.e., applying yourself).

Who knows, maybe someday we’ll create the George Costanza scholarship for the person who can prove that they applied for the most scholarships…