Where do scholarship monies come from?

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Illustration by Aaron Ughoc

Not a stork.

With the costs of school rising all the time, scholarships are certainly something students need to take advantage of in order to make the entire schooling process infinitely more achievable.

While scholarships help remove the ever pressing question of “where am I going to get the money to be able to get this degree?” we often don’t question where funds for scholarships come from.

Portland State has a variety of scholarships bundled together under its lengthy but user-friendly scholarship application. By filling out PSU’s scholarship application, you are applying for dozens of scholarships, and the system is automatically filtering out scholarships you are ineligible for and making sure your application is placed for those you are.

This is extremely handy, so just do it. Actually don’t, I need to up my chances… Just kidding. Get that free education money; you may or may not have earned it.

Free money comes from people

Within PSU’s scholarship cornucopia application you will find many scholarships with very little information. For instance, the “Building Our Future Scholarship” contains very little information. One could assume that this scholarship is attached to the “Building Our Future” fundraising campaign that ran from 1999 to 2006.

Over the course of those seven years, PSU raised nearly $114 million. Roughly $15 million of those dollars were raised specifically for scholarships before being allocated into 272 different scholarships.

One of the scholarships initiated from this pool was the Marta and Ken Thrasher Scholarship, which aims to help students who are striving to become professional educators within underemployed fields.

Within this “Building Our Future” campaign, PSU received 83,000 donations from both humans and corporations. Of those donations, 2,500 came from faculty and staff and 18,000 came from alumni.

That’s a lot of people putting pennies in your pockets. It’s like a hamburger made from a thousand cows. Except this is free money for college from thousands of different sources.

Some scholarships are much less complicated. Blick Art Materials, Bi-Mart Corp, and Boeing all have scholarships, and that money inevitably comes directly from those corporations. It’s safe to assume that most of the money for scholarships named after people either comes from that person or from people vaguely connected to that person who have funded a scholarship in their name.

Sometimes scholarships come from weird places

We all remember that one couple from high school that went to prom wearing outfits made out of duct tape. Whether they were applying for the Duck Tape brand’s scholarship or not, they definitely kept prom weird. Duck Tape’s parent company, ShurTech Brands, LLC awards one crafty couple 10,000 scholarship dollars each.

If you have a passion for dairy, the National Dairy Shrine might want to give you money. At one point the Klingon Language Institute was awarding $500 scholarships. Speaking of Star Trek, a Trekkie fan club called Starfleet has been awarding $1,000 scholarships to a few fellow Starfleet students every year since 1997. You can get school funding from your fellow Trek fans.

Needless to say, scholarship money can come from pretty much anywhere. Even a porn site once gave away a $25,000 scholarship for the winning applicant who responded to the question, “What makes you happy?” with a video response.

And with that, I’m gonna go see if Honey Bucket wants to give me college money. Why not?

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