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A Job and a Scholarship

A Job and a Scholarship

Win a job and a scholarship through these programs.

By Chris Diehl

September 05, 2008

If you’re a student who works part time to save money for college, don’t pass up an opportunity for extra cash that might be right under your nose. The place you work could be a source of assistance. Companies both large and small offer scholarship opportunities to their employees.

How do I find these scholarships?

Ask your supervisor if there are any awards you might be eligible for. Also, check your company’s newsletter or the break room bulletin board where other announcements are posted. If you work for a large corporation, you should be able to obtain employee scholarship information from the company Web site (check the “Community Involvement” or “Education” section) or by contacting the corporate office.

Some large corporations that run employee scholarship programs are:

McDonald’s USA National Employee Scholarship Program: To qualify, you must have been employed at McDonald’s for at least four continuous months for a minimum of 15 hours per week. Each state selects one student-employee from that state to receive a $1,000 scholarship.

Wal-Mart Associate Scholarship Program: A $2,000 scholarship that is paid over one year. It is offered to Wal-Mart employees who are graduating high school seniors.

Chick-Fil-A Leadership Scholarship Program: Student-employees compete for $1,000 scholarships for college. Employees have to commit to completing high school and move on to an accredited college to qualify. In addition to the application, a letter of recommendation from his or her operating store must also be submitted.

While some programs are merit-based and others are need-based, one requirement for receiving an employee scholarship is that (surprise!) you must be employed by that company. Check with your employer to determine whether there is a minimum employment requirement that must be met before applying.

Small business scholarships

Don’t dismiss your employer just because they’re not a national corporation with a marquee name.

Many small businesses, such as Erickson Retirement Communities, offer scholarships to their workers as well. Erickson, based in Baltimore, employs around 1,800 high school students in 10 communities located in six states. Last year, Erickson gave out more than $730,000 in scholarship funds to students who worked at the retirement communities, and more scholarships are being planned. To apply for the scholarship, you must have worked at least 1,000 hours over two years and plan to attend an accredited college.

“Students can find out about the scholarship through the employee newsletter,” says Kate Newton, a spokesperson for Erickson. “Also, fund raising goes on all year, so you might hear about the scholarship that way. And we have a student staff development manager who you can ask for more information.”

The Tennessee Grocers Association in Nashville, Tennessee, also offers renewable scholarships to their employees. Over the years, TGA has given out $1.6 million in scholarships.

“A great benefit for us is that we have employers encouraging their employees to better themselves. We have an opportunity to help working people,” says Wes Ball, president of the Tennessee Grocers Foundation. “I’m tickled that we’ve been able to help others. [The scholarship program] gives us great purpose to what we do.”

No matter what the size of your company is, ask your supervisor and check your company’s Web site to find out whether there are any scholarship opportunities available to you. A scholarship for college would be a great supplement to your paycheck.


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