Strange Scholarships: From Height to Duct Tape

By Casey O'Brien

With the price of college education in America rising to unprecedented heights, many students have become nervous about their ability to pay for their education, and fear having to pay off huge student loans. But never fear, fellow scholars. Organizations all over the country are waiting in the wings to write you a check.

Here are a few of the most unusual scholarships available.

Tall Clubs International (yes, this is a real thing) offers $1,000 scholarships for students, with the only requirement being that they are entering college in the fall and that they are, of course, tall. This means that they must be at least 6’2” for men and 5’10” for women, a striking but by no means unattainable height. Find a Tall Club member to sponsor you, and it’s all yours. If you are always in the back of group pictures, this one’s for you.

On the other end of the spectrum, Little People of America— an organization set up to support and offer information to people of short stature—offers a scholarship to students of 4’10” or less.

Not all of the scholarships are limited to physical features, however—a few are for your last name.

If your last name is Scarpinato, you tuition is paid in full at Texas A & M University—same goes for the last name Zolp at Loyola University in Chicago. Since there are so many students named Zolp, this one may be snapped up fast. Harvard offers scholarships for students named Bexendale, Thayer, Bright or Downer, among others. Which is nice, because if your last name is Downer, you may have had a rough time of it in school thus far.

If you want a scholarship related to an interest or skill, there are lots of those, too.

If you can knit, the National Make it Yourself with Wool Competition (wordy but descriptive) offers prizes ranging from $1000-2000 for your education.

So does the Duck Tape Brand Duct Tape Stuck at Prom Contest which encourages students to create their entire prom outfits out of the beloved, colorful tape and vie for $3000.

My favorite scholarships, however, are those that are related to students’ future careers or their interest in a subject. Mushrooms for example. If you plan on studying fungi, the Mycological Society of America may grant you a scholarship for $500—hey, it isn’t much, but the world of spore and fungi study has been very lucrative the last few years, so it should all balance out.

And if you can make duck calls—a dying but beautiful art—you can compete for a $1500 first prize scholarship with second and third place awards for smaller amounts with the Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest. Warm up your vocal cords, folks. The ducks await.

Whether you are tall or short, a duck lover or a duct tape lover, there are pathways for you to attend college—and maybe even with some extra cash to boot.