Are rising gasoline and transportation costs threatening your college education? Have financial concerns made the cost of an online degree education seem out of reach? Surprisingly, many educational foundations now allow students to use their scholarships to offset the cost of tuition or books at accredited online degree university programs. Winning these scholarships can help to bridge the gap between career dreams and educational realities.

For example, the Foundation for Economic Education offers a $2,000 award to students who are interested in writing about economic globalization and government involvement. Anyone who is not a member of or related to a member of the foundation is eligible to submit an essay; enrollment in a higher education university is not required. The award deadline is August 15, 2008.

This prize, known as the Eugene S. Thorpe award, will be given to one candidate who writes the essay best answering these questions. In addition, the winner’s submission will be published in The Freeman (http://www.fee.org/publications/the-freeman/), a well-known journal that defends societal freedoms in America. For more information about this prestigious award, visit http://www.fee.org/essaycontest/.

Another unusual scholarship opportunity is presented by Dell Computers and the administrators of Fastweb Scholarships (for more information, see www.fastweb.com). Anyone who graduated from high school in 2008 or is currently enrolled in any accredited college or university in the United States is eligible to win the scholarship. Prospective winners must also reside in the U. S.

The “Why I Deserve A Scholarship” contest deadline is July 4. A prize of $4,000 will be awarded to the individual aged 15 or older who produces the most compelling video about why he or she deserves a college scholarship. One additional award of $1,000 will be given to the runner-up. Winners are determined through voting at the scholarship’s website, http://www.whyideserveascholarship.com/.

Not everyone is skilled in communication or media arts, however. Some people may prefer a more practical approach to paying for a college degree program. For those people who are interested in an economics or business degree, Troy Studios offers a stocks prediction competition. Every two months, the corporation awards $400, split among the three students with the highest account balance in this simulated stocks prediction game.

The next Excellence in Predicting the Future Award contest will begin on August 10, 2008. Students who are interested in competing can sign up now and practice during the currently running contest, or start anew on August 10. Those who are interested in this contest can also earn the Delta Contest Prize, a $100 cash award to the competitor whose portfolio value has increased by the highest percentage during each contest period. All contestants in the contest are eligible to compete for both prizes simultaneously. For more information about this contest, visit http://www.cenimar.com/contest/award.jsp.

These are only a few of the competitions or challenges in which students can participate to earn money for college. Students who want to get a college degree online can use the money earned from any of these awards to finance their distance degree program. Numerous college scholarships are available to deserving students. Sometimes, however, the greatest challenge is just knowing where to find them!

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