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How to Get a Scholarship From a Celebrity

How to Get a Scholarship from a Celebrity main image

It’s no secret that celebrities aren’t exactly short of cash, and in recent years more and more have been opening their hearts (and wallets…) to offer scholarships to students in need.  So if you’re looking for a scholarship and wouldn’t mind gaining major bragging rights by scooping funding from a celeb, read on to find out what you could apply for.

Scholarships from celebrities to study in the UK

Stormzy Cambridge Scholarships

Open to: Black UK students studying an undergraduate degree at the University of Cambridge in autumn 2019

British rapper Stormzy is helping to address the often-criticized lack of diversity at the University of Cambridge by offering two scholarships for black undergraduate students. First offered in 2018, these scholarships will cover full tuition fees and also provide a maintenance grant, reducing the need for students to take out loans. Applications are judged based on students’ household income, socio-economic background and personal statement.

Scholarships from celebrities to study in the US

BMI Foundation John Lennon Scholarships

 John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Open to: Current students/alumnus of US colleges or universities, aged between 17 and 24.

Although John Lennon may no longer be alive to make music or offer scholarships himself, his legacy lives on in many ways, with his widow Yoko Ono having established the John Lennon Scholarship in 1997 in conjunction with the BMI Foundation. To enter, you should submit an original song that no major music publisher or record label has the rights to. Three scholarships of US$20,000 are awarded every year to the best original songs.

David Geffen Medical Scholarships

Open to: All applicants to the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Thanks to an incredible US$300 million donation from business magnate David Geffen in 2002 and 2012, up to 20 percent of students at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine are granted a full scholarship every year, covering tuition, room and board, books and supplies and other expenses for the entire four-year period. International students are eligible, and scholarships are awarded based on academic merit.

David Letterman Telecommunications Scholarship

David Letterman

Open to: Ball State University students studying a major or minor in telecommunications.

First launched by American talk show host and Ball State University graduate David Letterman in 1985, the winner of this scholarship is awarded US$10,000, with the first runner-up receiving $5,000 and the second runner-up receiving $3,333. To apply, you’ll need to submit a creative project and meet the eligibility requirements.

The Shawn Carter Scholarship Fund (SCSF)

Jay Z and Gloria Carter

Open to: US high school seniors/undergraduates aged 25 or under

Shawn Carter who, you may be wondering. This scholarship is actually an initiative set up by rapper Jay-Z (real name Shawn Carter) and his mother Gloria in 2003. The Shawn Carter Scholarship Fund (SCSF) was set up to enable motivated individuals in need to further their education. The SCSF provides grants, paid directly to the student’s university, to cover tuition fees, stationery and other study costs. If you’re granted this scholarship, you’ll be asked to give back by taking part in community work and serving as a mentor for aspiring Shawn Carter Scholars. Beyoncé also offered her own scholarships in 2018, but it’s so far unclear if these will be available again in 2019.

Oprah Winfrey Endowed Scholarships Program

Oprah Winfrey

Open to: Freshmen students at Morehouse College who demonstrate both academic merit and financial need.

Students at Morehouse College, a liberal arts college in Atlanta, Georgia, can apply for four different scholarships from Oprah Winfrey, including the Oprah Winfrey South Africa Leadership Program, which allows Oprah Winfrey scholars to take part in an international exchange opportunity with South African partner institutions. To apply for these scholarships, you’ll need to meet the minimum GPA/SAT requirements and have completed community service.

Scholarships from brands

It's not just celebrities offering university scholarships - some of the world's most famous brands and corporations are offering money to help lucky students pay for their education. Here’s a small selection.

  • L’oreal – The L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowships, created to recognize and promote women in science, award five international fellowships worth £15,000 each year to women pursuing postdoctoral research in the life sciences at any UK or Irish university or research institute. (You can view more scholarships for women here.)
  • McDonald’s – The McDonald’s HACER® Program awards scholarships ranging from US$5,000 to $100,000 to Hispanic US students to enable them to study any course full time at a US college or university. Applicants will be assessed on their financial need, academic achievement, personal qualities and community involvement. More scholarships for Hispanic students can be found here.
  • Microsoft – Open to all students (including international students) studying a degree in computer science or another STEM subject. You can find more computer science scholarships here.
  • Starbucks – Starbucks is offering to pay the tuition fees of members of staff in the UK and the US who study a first-time bachelor’s degree taught online by Arizona State University.
  • Taco Bell – The Taco Bell Foundation has announced its intention to award US$4 million in Live Más Scholarships in 2019. To apply, candidates simply need to submit a two-minute video talking about their passion – no test scores are required. However, this is only open to US citizens aged between 16 and 24.

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Sabrina Collier's profile image
Written by Sabrina Collier
The former Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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