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14 College Scholarships You've Probably Never Heard Of Before

More scholarships now = fewer student loan payments later.

Student loan debt has been a big burden for Gen X'ers and millennials, but if you're currently in school or about to enroll, it's not too late for you to reduce the amount you need to borrow. Scholarships are one relatively easy (and FREE) way to cut that number down and graduate with less debt and more financial freedom.

Today, the student debt crisis reached $1,816,819,562,305

In a perfect world, getting an education wouldn't be so expensive in the first place, but that's a whole other conversation. In the meantime, scholarships are literally free money, so it can't hurt to apply for as many as you can. You can apply for scholarships before you start college and continue applying every year until you graduate.

If you're looking for more ways to cut down on the amount you need to borrow, you might also consider taking your general ed courses at a junior or community college (just make sure the credits are transferable) or living at home if possible to cut boarding costs. You might also look into work-study programs or getting a part-time job while you study.

To find some interesting scholarships that are due in the next couple of months, I reached out to, and wow, did they deliver.

I really hope that you find something here that you want to apply to. But if none of these scholarships are calling your name, do some more research on your own to find some scholarships that do. And as you continue your scholarship search, don't forget to ask your school's financial aid office and check out more ways to find scholarships.

Also, remember that when it comes to scholarships, every little bit really does help. While a $2,000 scholarship will only cover a small portion of the average student's yearly tuition, that's still $2,000 (plus interest!) that you won't have to borrow and worry about paying back later.

1. The Luther and Mary Ida Vandross Scholarship

Luther Vandross singing on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1989
Paul Natkin / Getty Images

Amount: $6,000

Due date: June 12, 2021

This scholarship commemorating the legendary singer Luther Vandross and his mother, Mary Ida, will be awarded to students pursuing their degrees at an HBCU. To qualify, you'll need to be in your third, fourth, or fifth year of school with at least a 2.5 GPA and live in Pennsylvania, Delaware, or southern New Jersey.

2. The Collegiate Inventors Competition

3. The National Potato Council Scholarship

USA Films / Via

Amount: $10,000

Due date: June 15, 2021

From the humble baked potato to cheese-soaked nacho tots, I think we can all agree that potatoes add a lot of joy to our lives. And for one graduate student, potato-related research could unlock a pretty sweet scholarship. To apply, you'll need to write a short essay of 200 words or less explaining how your research can benefit the potato industry in the United States.

4. The WONGDOODY Amplifying Creative Talent Scholarship

5. The May Day Scholarship

6. The WWF Conservation Leadership Award

The Pew Charitable Trusts / Via

Amount: $5,000

Due date: July 17, 2021

Do you do conservation or sustainability work in your community? If so, first of all, thank you!! Aaand you might want to take a closer look at this scholarship. This fund is available for youth leaders who are working on community projects around wildlife protection, food waste reduction, climate change mitigation, and more.

7. The Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest

8. The Naval Intelligence Essay Contest

9. The John Galt Scholarship for Future Supply Chain Leaders

Logistics managers having a conversation in front of large shipping containers
Xavierarnau / Getty Images

Amount: $10,000

Due date: July 31, 2021

Business forecasting and supply chain firm John Galt Solutions is offering this scholarship to students interested in pursuing a career in this field. To qualify, you just need to be currently enrolled full time in a supply chain management (or similar) program at an accredited college or university in the United States.

10. The Brian Bolton Essay Contest for Graduate/“Older” Students

Netflix / Via

Amount: $3,500

Due date: July 31, 2021

The word "older" is being used a little loosely here — this scholarship is for undergrads ages 25 to 30 and graduate students up to 30 years old who are enrolled in a North American college or university. To enter, you'll need to write an essay, and this year's topic is the dangers that religious extremism poses to the United States.

11. The GeneTex for Education Scholarship Program

Netflix / Via

Amount: $2,000

Due date: July 31, 2021

The biotech company GeneTex has a scholarship that is open to any undergrad or graduate students going after a STEM degree (that's science, technology, engineering, or mathematics). You'll need to be in good academic standing to apply, and the company asks that you send in your transcripts to prove it.

12. The Katyn Essay Scholarship Competition

People visiting a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Katyn massacre
Viktor Drachev / Viktor Drachev/TASS / Getty Images

Amount: $5,000

Due date: Aug. 1, 2021

Back in 1940, the Soviet Union massacred about 22,000 Polish military officers and academics over a period of just two months. But thanks to a careful cover-up, Stalin was able to shift the blame for the massacre to the Germans and faced no international repercussions at the time. This scholarship was founded to commemorate the victims of the Katyn massacre and asks students to write an essay on the international implications of denying justice to all those who were killed. To qualify for the prize, you'll need to be at least 18 years old by Aug. 1.

13. The Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship

Universal Pictures / Via

Amount: $2,500

Due date: Aug. 1, 2021

This scholarship, named in honor of Frankenstein author and original Goth girlfriend Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, is given annually by the Horror Writers Association to cis and trans women who write chilling tales of terror. To apply, you will need to send in some of your spookiest fiction, and you don't have to belong to the Horror Writers Association to win.

14. The Pet Disability Awareness Micro-Scholarship

Veterinarian petting a happy cow
Andresr / Getty Images

Amount: $1,000

Due date: Aug. 31, 2021

Future veterinarians, listen up, 'cause this one's for you! This micro-scholarship might not sound like much, but when it comes to paying for school, every little bit helps. Undergrads and graduate students majoring in veterinary medicine are welcome to apply, and you have to have a GPA of at least 2.5 to win.

Do you know about any other unique or interesting scholarships coming up? Tell us all about them in the comments below.

And for more money tips and tricks, check out the rest of our personal finance posts.

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