Paying for College

Celebrity Scholarships

You've heard me talk about Fastweb before. It's one of the best places on the Web to start your scholarship search. For students looking to pay for college while also dreaming of the red carpet, Fastweb has compiled a list of celebrity-sponsored scholarships that are a few among 1.5 million diverse scholarships available on its website.

These scholarships come at a crucial time with the Student Loan Debt Clock, which reports an estimate of current student loan debt outstanding, on course to hit $1 trillion in 2012.  Some of the most popular celebrity scholarships offered through Fastweb include:


Michael Jackson Scholarship: Michael Jackson wasn’t just a music legend, he was also known for his donations to scholarship funds, particularly to the United Negro College Fund.  The Michael Jackson Scholarship, available through UNCF, is open to undergraduate and graduate students focusing in the arts and communications. Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA.  Awards amounts for the Michael Jackson Scholarship are available for up to $5,000 and the deadline typically occurs in February.  Check here for more information.

Alicia Keys’ Open Doors Scholars Program: Alicia Keys’ Open Doors Scholars Program is open to students in Jacksonville, New Orleans, Atlanta or New York City’s Harlem, who are part of the organization, Frum Tha Ground Up.  Each scholarship from the Alicia Keys’ Open Doors Scholars Program is worth $5,000 and more information can be found here.

i.am Scholarship: Will.i.am, a member of the popular music group the Black Eyed Peas,  began the i.am Scholarship in 2009 to help students fulfill their dreams of going to college.  His scholarship offers four-year college tuition for four students.  Additional information can be found here.

The Christopher Reeve Award: Christopher Reeve was more than just Superman; he was super at giving back.  In order to qualify for the Christopher Reeve Award, students should be nominated by a non-relative who must detail the student’s community service efforts in the application.  The Christopher Reeve Award is worth $1,000 and nominations are accepted between September 1 and October 31 each year.  Check here for more information.

Letterman Telecommunications Scholarship: The David Letterman Telecommunications Scholarship is open to full-time students who are telecommunications majors or minors. While grades are not a criterion, applicants must have a goal to become a professional in the telecommunications industry.  The scholarship recipient will receive $10,000 toward their education. First runner-up will receive $5,000 and second runner-up will win $3,333.  Look here for more information.

Speaking of student debt, Finaid.org notes that "total student loan debt outstanding exceeded total credit card debt outstanding for the first time in June 2010. The seasonally adjusted figure for revolving credit in the Federal Reserve's G.19 report (current report, historical data) was $826.5 billion in June 2010. (Credit card debt represents as much as 98% of revolving credit.) Revolving credit started declining in September 2008 when it reached a peak of $975.7 billion. The decrease is probably due a combination of higher minimum payments on credit cards, which were increased to 4% from 2%, lower credit card limits and tighter credit underwriting. Student loan debt, on the other hand, as been growing steadily because need-based grants have not been keeping pace with increases in college costs. Federal student loan debt outstanding reached approximately $665 billion and private student loan debt reached approximately $168 billion in June 2010, for a total student loan debt outstanding of $833 billion. Total student loan debt is increasing at a rate of about $2,853.88 per second."

That's something to keep in mind when those loans are part of your colleges' financial aid offers.

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