Budgets are tight, tuition is climbing, and competition is steep for a seemingly evaporating pool of scholarship dollars.
And yet money is still available for students with the right surnames, physical statures, or talents. Below are a few of the more interesting scholarships we've run across. Please note that several are institution-specific and not portable.
13th Street Gang Scholarships (Albright College)
Requirements: Applicants must have graduated from elementary school, middle school, and high school on 13th Street in Reading, Pa., the same street on which the college is located.
Amount: $15,000, renewable.
Deadline: Must apply for admission to Albright by March 1.
American Fire Sprinkler Association Scholarships
Requirements: Take a 10-question multiple-choice test on fire sprinklers.
Deadline: April 5
Chris Farley Scholarship (Marquette U.)
Requirements: Recipient must use creativity and humor "in a positive manner."
Deadline: February 12
Zolp Scholarship (Loyola U. Chicago)
Requirements: Must be Roman Catholic and have the last name "Zolp."
Amount: Depends on the number of eligible Zolps.
Deadline: Must be admitted to Loyola by February 1.
Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go! Scholarship
Requirements: Write an inspiring letter, based on the book's theme, to someone who needs it.
Deadline: January 15
Creative Writing Award (formerly the J.D. Salinger Award) (Ursinus College)
Requirements: A creative work in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, or some combination of genres, not exceeding 10 pages, written "in the spirit of Holden Caulfield and Catcher in the Rye."
Amount: $30,000, renewable, plus a year in Salinger's old dorm room.
Deadline: January 15
John Gatling Grant Program (North Carolina State U.)
Requirements: Must be born with the surname "Gatlin" or "Gatling."
Amount: $9,000 to $18,000
Deadline: Must apply for admission to N.C. State by February 1.
Left-Handed Scholarships (Juniata College)
Requirements: Must be an academically competitive upperclassman and claim to be a southpaw.
Amount: $1,000 to $1,500
Deadline: None; the college automatically considers eligible students.
Little People of America Scholarships
Requirements: Must be under 4-foot-10 or have a family member who is and who belongs to the LPA.
Amount: $250 to $1,000
Deadline: April 22
Tall Clubs International Scholarships
Requirements: Women must be at least 5-foot-10; men, 6-foot-2
Amount: Up to $1,000
Deadline: Varies by region.
Stuck at Prom Scholarships (Duck Tape)
Requirements: Applicants must create prom outfits with duct tape and submit photos for judging.
Amount: $500 to $5,000
Deadline: June 13
Vegetarian Resource Group Scholarships
Requirements: Applicants must have shown "compassion, courage, and a strong commitment to promoting a peaceful world through a vegetarian diet/lifestyle."
Amount: $5,000 each
Deadline: February 20