25 Great Scholarships Sponsored or Inspired by Celebrities

Celebrities sometimes get a bad rap their extravagant lifestyles and frivolous spending, but as this article about scholarships sponsored or inspired by celebrities points out, that reputation is not always deserved.

What do Eli Manning, Katie Couric, Jay-Z, and Alec Baldwin have in common? With their million dollar paydays in hand, these famous celebrities are using their fame and fortune to help high school and college students nationwide achieve college success without going broke in the process. At a time when Americans owe more tuition debt than ever before, more and more celebrities are giving back to their community to help students just like you. Read on to learn more about 25 of the scholarships sponsored or inspired by celebrities that you could be uniquely eligible for to cover the financial burdens of attending college.

1. Alec Baldwin Drama Scholarship

Deadline: January 1st

As a member of the Dean’s Council, Alec Baldwin established an endowed scholarship for students within the Department of Drama in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University annually to incoming freshmen. With no separate scholarship application necessary besides the standard Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), all new undergraduate students who exhibit high artistic talent, academic achievement, unwavering work ethic, leadership skills, financial need, and meet all admission requirements will be automatically considered.


Alec Baldwin Drama Scholarship
726 Broadway Ave. 12th Floor
New York, NY 10003
(212) 998-1900

2. Alicia Keys Open Door Scholarship

Deadline: January 22nd

Through the Open Doors Scholars Program as part of Frum Tha Ground Up, a Jacksonville-based non-profit organization started by road manager D.J. Walton, Grammy-award winner Alicia Keys offers four scholarships for $5,000 each to students from Jacksonville, New Orleans, Atlanta, and New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. In exchange for the scholarship funds, recipients must represent the organization at various school or public appearances and perform community service acts each semester.


Alicia Keys Open Door Scholarship
10151 Deerwood Park Blvd. Suite 250A
Jacksonville, FL 32256
(904) 680-3132

3. Camille and Bill Cosby Scholarship in Science

Deadline: May 6th

Each year at Temple University, the Camille and Bill Cosby Scholarship in Science is awarded to rising junior and senior students who graduated from Simon Gratz, Germantown, Central, or Girls High School in Philadelphia. In order to qualify for the one-time $3,000 award, applicants must be majoring in the natural sciences, demonstrate financial need, complete a current FAFSA form, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 or higher, and maintain a full-time course of study for the duration of the scholarship period.


Camille and Bill Cosby Scholarship in Science
1801 North Broad St.
Philadelphia, PA 19122
(215) 204-7200

4. Christopher Reeve Award

Deadline: October 31st

Each year, the Heart of America Foundation Heroes of the Heat grants the Christopher Reeve Award to extraordinary youth who have demonstrated tremendous compassion and caring through service to his or her community. Eligible applicants for receiving the $1,000 scholarship from Merriam-Webster Inc. for postsecondary education tuition costs must be high school seniors or younger. All candidates for the scholarship must be nominated by someone other than a relative through completing an application and writing an essay on why the nominee should be considered for their service efforts.


Christopher Reeve Award
1625 K Street NW Suite 400
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 347-6278

5. Dizzy Feet Foundation Scholarships

Deadline: Varies

The Dizzy Feet Foundation grants annual scholarships to talented individuals studying at nationally recognized or accredited dance schools, studios, universities, and institutions for award amounts up to $10,000 per student. Eligible candidates for the funding must be at least 15 years old, American citizens, and be currently studying at an institution within the United States. Individuals may not submit themselves directly for consideration and must be nominated for consideration on the basis of talent, technical skills, and dance expression.


Dizzy Feet Foundation Scholarships
9336 Civic Center Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

6. Earl Woods Scholarship Program

Deadline: March 1st

Sponsored by the Tiger Woods Foundation, the Earl Woods Scholarship Program (EWSP) was created to provide an incredible support network that includes admissions counseling, dedicated mentors, specialized internships, financial tuition assistance, and workshops specifically for those who are first-generation college students. In order to participate in this special community of scholars and receive funding to overcome the hurdles facing first generation students, all candidates must maintain an average GA of 3.0 or higher.


Tiger Woods Foundation
ATTN: Earl Woods Scholarship Program
121 Innovation Drive, Suite 150
Irvine, CA 92617

7. Flip Wilson Memorial Scholarships

Deadline: Varies

In honor of the popular comedian of the 1970s, the Flip Wilson Memorial Scholarships are offered to full-time communications or journalism majors within the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University. With preference given to students of African American descent, the scholarships are intended to cover all tuition costs and living expenses one time for one year. Along with the application, candidates are asked to provide a 500-word essay on some aspect of Flip Wilson’s work and impact on television or comedy.


Flip Wilson Memorial Scholarships
4 Huntington Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
(848) 932-7500

8. Gates Millennium Scholars Program

Deadline: January 15th

Funded by a grant from the Bill and Melina Gates Foundation, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program provides 1,000 outstanding students of African American, American Indian, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students with significant financial need an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education annually. There is also a Continuing Gates Millennium Scholarship that students may apply for graduate funding for programs in computer science, education, engineering, library science, mathematics, public health, or science.


Gates Millennium Scholars Program
1805 7th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
(877) 690-4677

9. Jimi Hendrix Scholarship Fund

Deadline: December 13th

Sponsored by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the Jimi Hendrix Scholarship Fund is utilized to provide academic funding for talented guitar players who are in financial need for attending an accredited undergraduate program to study music. Eligible applicants to receive one of the scholarships for varying amounts must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and have unmet financial need that is confirmed by the college financial aid office.


Jimi Hendrix Scholarship Fund
8260 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive
P.O. Box 10444
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 677-3400

10. John Lennon Scholarships

Deadline: February 7th

The BMI Foundation offers the John Lennon Scholarships to students or alumnus of U.S. universities that are between the ages of 17 and 24 who submit an original song with lyrics accompanied by whatever instrumentation is chosen by the applicants. Three scholarships with prizes totaling $20,000 each will be awarded to the best original songs submitted to the competition. Along with the completed application, applicants must include a CD or MP3 of the song and three typed copies of the lyrics.


John Lennon Scholarships
7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007

11. Kid Rock’s Made in Detroit Scholarship

Deadline: February 1st

With the goal of recognizing scholastic achievement and providing assistance to students in financing their education in the Department of Music, Wayne State University has partnered with Kid Rock’s Made in Detroit clothing company to grant a $25,000 scholarship to undergraduate or graduate students majoring in music. Although a minimum GPA is not required, applicants must demonstrate financial need, be residents of the state of Michigan, and submit a personal statement outlining reasons for requesting the award.


Kid Rock’s Made in Detroit Scholarship
5700 Cass Avenue Suite 3100
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 577-2150

12. Letterman Telecommunications Scholarship

Deadline: April 5th

At Ball State University, the Letterman Telecommunications Scholarship is given to full-time students who are first-quarter juniors through first-quarter seniors who are majoring or minoring in telecommunications. Along with the application, candidates must submit a creative project, list of telecommunications courses already taken between 30 and 102 semester hours, and a personal statement describing the concept of the creative project. The winner of the scholarship will receive $10,000, the first runner-up will receive $5,000, and the second runner-up will receive $3,333 given directly to the financial aid office.


Letterman Telecommunications Scholarship
2000 W. University Ave.
Muncie, IN 47306
(765) 289-1241

13. Michael and Juanita Jordan Scholarship

Deadline: December 13th

Michael Jordan has turned his slam dunks into scholarship opportunities for students by partnering with the United College Negro Fund (UNCF) to grant the Michael and Juanita Jordan Scholarship for $5,000 annually to help financially needy students attend a UNCF-member college or university. The scholarship is open to all candidates who are juniors from Chicago, Illinois and have maintained a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.


Michael and Juanita Jordan Scholarship
8260 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive
P.O. Box 10444
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 677-3400

14. Michael Jackson and Rhythm Nation Scholarships

Deadline: November 16th

Created by an endowment fund from Michael Jackson and his Rhythm Nation world tour, the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) grants scholarships for undergraduate or graduate students who are majoring in Art, Communications, Drama, English, Fine Arts, Mass Communications, Music, Performing Arts, Theater, Vocal Performance, or Visual Arts. In order to be eligible for the $5,000 award, applicants must be UNCF members, be of African American descent, and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.


Michael Jackson and Rhythm Nation Scholarships
8260 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive
P.O. Box 10444
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 677-3400

15. Mister Rogers Memorial Scholarship

Deadline: January 14th

Four Mister Rogers Memorial Scholarships are provided by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation for $10,000 each to graduate students who are pursuing a career in children’s media and are interested in furthering the values of Fred Rogers’ work. In addition to the monetary award used for research, successful applicants will be mentored by a children’s programming professional. Along with completing the downloaded application, students must submit a proposed detailed plan for project goals on how the scholarship funds will be used and two letters of recommendation.


Mister Rogers Memorial Scholarship
5220 Lankershim Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 754-2800

16. Ole Miss Opportunity

Deadline: February 15th

Founded on a donation from NFL player Eli Manning, the Ole Miss Opportunity program is committed to providing access to quality education for students from all backgrounds at the University of Mississippi. Eligible applicants must be residents of Mississippi, U.S. citizens, entering freshmen, enrolled full-time, and have a family adjusted gross income at or below the $30,000 mark. Designed to fill the gap after federal aid, the scholarship can be used to cover the average cost of tuition, residence hall housing, and an allowance for meals.


Ole Miss Opportunity
257 Martindale Rd.
P.O. Box 1848
University, MS 28677
(662) 915-1164

17. Oprah Winfrey Endowed Scholarship Fund

Deadline: February 24th

Founded on the motto “When you empower a black man, you light up the world,” the Oprah Winfrey Endowed Scholarship Fund offers financially needy students at Morehouse College funding to become intellectual, social, and moral leaders in their careers and communities. In order to be eligible for the awards, applicants must be enrolled as a full-time student at Morehouse, be U.S. citizens, have financial need, maintain satisfactory academic progress, and possess a high school diploma or GED certificate.


Oprah Winfrey Endowed Scholarship Fund
830 Westview Drive SW
Atlanta, GA 30314
(404) 681-2800

18. Ossie Davis Endowment Scholarships

Deadline: May 1st

Managed by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the Ossie Davis Endowment Scholarship program awards the funding needed for African American high school seniors who will be enrolled full-time in a four-year Historically Black College or University (HBCU). Eligible candidates for the $6,800 scholarship must be pursuing a degree in African American Studies, Communications, Fine Arts, Humanities, Performing Arts, Political Science, Social Sciences, or Theater Arts/Drama.


Ossie Davis Endowment Scholarships
8260 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive
P.O. Box 10444
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 677-3400

19. Scholarship America Dream Award

Deadline: January 31st

Spurred by an initial donation from Katie Couric, the Scholarship America Dream Award provides multi-year performance-based scholarships ranging from $5,000 and $15,000, growing by $1,000 each year until graduation to students nationwide who are entering their second year or higher of post-secondary education. Eligible candidates for the scholarships must be permanent residents of the United States, possess a high school diploma or equivalent, have completed a minimum of one full year of college studies, have a minimum GPA of 3.0 or better, and demonstrate financial need.


Scholarship America Dream Award
1550 American Blvd. Suite 155
Minneapolis, MN 55425
(952) 830-7300

20. Seinfeld Scholarship Program

Deadline: March 1st

Sponsored by the Seinfeld Family Foundation, the Seinfeld Scholarship Program provides a four-year scholarship covering up to $10,000 worth of costs for books, tuition, and room and board each year for seniors within the New York City public high school system, with a special preference given to those in the Bronx. Eligible applicants must be legal residents who are graduating in June of the year the scholarship is awarded and are planning to enroll in a full-time course of study leading to a bachelor’s degree at an accredited university.


Seinfeld Scholarship Program
30 West 26th Street 5th Floor
New York, NY 10010
(646) 638-0565

21. Shawn Carter Foundation Scholarship

Deadline: May 31st

With the goal of removing some of the financial burdens for under-served youth and young adults, the Shawn Carter Foundation Scholarship founded by rapper Jay-Z provides grants ranging from $1,500 to $2,500 yearly to cover the expenses of tuition, textbooks, room and board, and educational travel. Eligible high school seniors and undergraduate college students must be U.S. citizens, 25 years old or younger, and have a minimum GPA of 2.0 or higher. All recipients are required to give back by conducting community service and serve as mentors to younger scholars.


Shawn Carter Foundation Scholarship
20 Jay Street Suite 834
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(646) 606-2211

22. The Derek Jeter/Kalamazoo Community Foundation Scholarship

Deadline: March 31st

Derek Jeter/Kalamazoo Community Foundation Scholarship is a four-year scholarship that provides financial assistance to graduating high school seniors within Kalamazoo County in Michigan who are planning to enroll full-time in an accredited university. Eligible candidates must demonstrate leadership in fitness and sportsmanship, have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, have achieved a composite ACT score of 21 or better, and advocate for a substance-free athletic lifestyle.


The Derek Jeter/Kalamazoo Community Foundation Scholarship
151 South Rose Street Suite 332
Kalamazoo, MI 49007
(269) 381-4416

23. Tony Bennett College Scholarship

Deadline: May 17th

Offered by the Exploring the Arts Foundation, the Tony Bennett College Scholarship was established to help make attending a four-year college or university more affordable for high school seniors graduating from one of the high schools specializing in arts and music in New York City. Along with the completed application for the scholarship ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 each, students must submit an official transcript, personal essay, signed photo or video waiver, academic/arts teacher recommendation form, and student financial aid FAFSA report.


Tony Bennett College Scholarship
16 West 23rd Street 4th Floor
New York, NY 10010
(646) 745-9123

24. USPAACC Bruce Lee Scholarship

Deadline: March 1st

The United States Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPAACC) has established the Bruce Lee Scholarship in honor of the legendary movie actor to provide financial assistance to students with strong character who have overcome adversity to pursue post-secondary education at an accredited institution. In order to receive the $5,000 scholarship, applicants must be at least 16 years of age, of Asian descent, permanent residents of the U.S, and accepted for full-time enrollment in the fall.


USPAACC Bruce Lee Scholarship
1329 18th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 296-5221

25. Will.i.am “I am” Scholarship

Deadline: Contact sponsoring organization

The Black Eyed Peas flashy prodigy has teamed up with College Track to create the Will.i.am “I am” scholarship to make four students’ postsecondary education dreams a reality yearly and offer an inside track to job prospects at BEP-endorsed Dipdrive. The scholarship is structured to cover all of the expenses associated with higher education, including tuition, books, fees, and room and board for a maximum of four years to earn an undergraduate degree from an accredited U.S. institution.


Will.i.am “I am” Scholarship
111 Broadway Ave. Suite 101
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 834-3295

According to the College Board, the average cost of attending a public four-year university was up 6.4 percent and the cost of attending a private four-year college was up 5.9 percent in the last school year. With these sharp increases, more students than ever before are looking for scholarships to help pay their way to the college classroom and celebrities are opening their fat checkbooks to lend a hand. If you need help covering the costs to achieve your college dreams, it is highly recommended that you further investigate and apply for these 25 great scholarships sponsored or inspired by celebrities.

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