Celebrities Offer College Scholarships to Talented, Star-Struck Teens

David Letterman offers college scholarshipsIs your child like my 13-year-old daughter who's dying to star on the Disney Channel? Or perhaps you've got a son or daughter who swears up and down he's the next Jay-Z or she's the next Beyonce-in-the making?

He or she may have some true talent and probably thinks that winding up in Hollywood or on Broadway is a foregone conclusion. You, on the other hand, may just want your child to keep hitting the books and be able to go to college without taking out a ton of student loans.

Fortunately, your dreams of making sure your child gets an affordable higher education don't have to clash with your son or daughter's aspirations to become rich and famous.

In fact, the two goals could compliment one another thanks to a number of celebrities -- alive and dead -- who have funded college scholarships to talented students determined to make themselves a household name.According to the college financing website, FastWeb.com, a host of celebrity-sponsored scholarships could be just the ticket to help your child on his or her way to stardom -- and ease your worries about paying for college.

Here's a sampling of those scholarships, according to FastWeb:

Michael Jackson Scholarship
Michael Jackson wasn't just a music legend. He was also a large benefactor to scholarship funds, particularly to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). The Michael Jackson Scholarship, available through UNCF, is open to undergraduate and graduate students majoring in the arts and communications. Applicants must have at least a 3.0 GPA. Award amounts for the Michael Jackson Scholarship are available for as much as $5,000 and the deadline typically occurs in February. Check here for more information.

The Christopher Reeve Award
More than just Superman, Christopher Reeve 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; nominations are accepted between September 1 and October 31 each year. Check here for more information.

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. In 2011, in conjunction with College Track, the i.am scholarship will support the inaugural class of i.am College Track scholars. Additional information can be found here.

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. The first runner-up will receive $5,000 and the second runner-up will win $3,333. Look here for more information.

The FastWeb site was founded by Mark Kantrowitz, a financial aid expert and author of the new book, Secrets to Winning a Scholarship.

Kantrowitz's research shows that more than 1.5 million scholarships worth more than $3.5 billion are awarded every year, including some odd scholarships that we've previously written about here at WalletPop.

And while students with good grades and high test scores definitely land scholarships more frequently than so-so students, Kantrowitz notes, "There are many scholarships that don't depend on your having a good GPA."

Some of the more well-known ones, he says, are:

  • The Letterman Telecommunications scholarship mentioned above
  • The Duck Brand Duck Tape Stuck at Prom Contest for creating a prom costume out of duct tape
  • The AXA Achievement Scholarship for outstanding achievement in non-academic activities

For more information on these and scores of other scholarships, search the FastWeb.com scholarships database, which automatically matches an applicant only to scholarships for which they qualify based on their unique background.

Who knows? That child of yours really could be the next Willow Smith or Justin Bieber!
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