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A Guide to Earning the Most Coveted Financial Aid Awards for School

Hi Everyone…Did you know that an estimated $46 billion in college grants and scholarships are awarded by the U.S. Department of Education and different academic institutions every year. But there are a handful of top-tier awards for high-performing, standout students known as Prestige Scholarships. Qualification standards are much higher than typical financial aid options, and finalists must be both outstanding academically and highly involved as community advocates or leaders. So, what exactly do these highly-touted awards get you? Take a closer look at some of the country’s most coveted Prestige Scholarship programs and learn how to earn them.

Many highly competitive Prestige Scholarship and fellowship programs provide exclusive benefits, like stipends, access to specialized training and even professional placement to secure a job after graduation. Because of the perks, outstanding candidates with extreme intellect, leadership ability, commitment to community and strong character are sought for the scholarships below, no matter what their educational background is. Take a look at the list of Prestige Scholarships below.

Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education FoundationAmountUp to $7,500 per year (two years)

What it coversUndergraduate tuition, fees, books, room and board

EligibilityStudents interested in pursuing a research career can earn one of 300 undergraduate scholarships. Scholarship awards may be used only for a student’s Junior and Senior years.

Nomination Required?Yes. Students should contact their Goldwater Campus Representative (CR) and fill out their campus-specific pre-application information. The CR will conduct a pre-application review and nominate students to move forward in the application process from there.

Elie Wiesel Foundation Prize in Ethics

Amount$500 to $5,000

What it coversNo specified stipulations

EligibilityFull-time students in their junior or senior year of an undergraduate degree program at an accredited four-year school in the U.S. are eligible.

Nomination Required?No. This essay-based award challenges students to explore ethical issues or concerns and drive for ethical dimension and humanitarian action.

National Merit ScholarshipAmountA $2,500 primary, single payment scholarship; varying corporate-sponsored and college-sponsored awards; varying special scholarships

EligibilityHigh school students who earn high scores on the PSAT / National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) can qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program and achieve Finalist standing by meeting high academic standards in their high school courses. A set number of semifinalists must be chosen per state, and approximately 7,500 students win a primary scholarship per year.

Nomination Required?No. The application does require a high school official’s written recommendation, but anyone with eligible PSAT/NMSQT score reports can enter.

Udall Undergraduate ScholarshipAmountUp to $7,000

What it coversUndergraduate academic expenses

EligibilityThe Udall Scholarship program awards college sophomores and juniors who demonstrate leadership, public service and a commitment to supporting Native American nations and stewardship of public lands.

Nomination Required?No. To apply, students must reach out to their school’s Udall Faculty Representative to receive an application. Application deadlines vary by school.

To learn more, please visit:  https://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center  where they extensive lresources to help you with everyting from filling out the FAFSA to applyinbg for scholarships to determining which university might be right for you.  Check them out!