It’s time to make a run for the border. The Taco Bell Foundation is offering more than $4 million of Taco Bell scholarships. Next to free tuition, scholarships are your next best bet to reduce student loans. Here’s what you need to know.
Live Más Scholarships: Since 1992, the Taco Bell Foundation has awarded more than $72 million in grants and scholarships focused on education and career readiness.
In 2019, the Taco Bell Foundation is awarding scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 per student for 2-4 year colleges, graduate schools and vocational and trade schools.
The Taco Bell $4 million Scholarship is divided into three categories:
- New Applicant Program: $1 million
- Renewal Program For Previous Applicants: $2.25 million
- Taco Bell Employees: $750,000
Unlike traditional scholarships that are based on academics or athletic ability, the Live Más Scholarship is for students who have passion. By “passion,” the Taco Bell Foundation is looking for “a generation of innovators, creators and dreamers who want to make a difference in the world.”
How To Apply
- How do you show “passion?”
- High GPA? Nope.
- Long essays? Not here.
- Top SAT scores? Not necessary.
The entire application is a two-minute video about what you love to do. Applications are due February 21, 2019 and are open to legal residents of the 50 states plus Washington, D.C. ages 16-24 who plans to pursue, or are pursuing, a post-secondary degree. The recipients will be announced May 2019.
You can apply here.
Past Winners: $25,000 Scholarships
- Erin Smith: developed a tool to aid in the early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
- Hannah Whitaker: who first started working at Taco Bell so she could save up for a trip to Japan.
- Heidi Estrada: a first generation college student who hopes to impact people’s lives through public service.
- Jonathan Curtiss: aspiring filmmaker who got to help create a Taco Bell commercial.
- Noah Harris strives to give others a voice through politics.
Student Loan Game Plan
When it comes to paying for college or graduate school, you need a student loan game plan to help you stay organized and take the next action steps. Every one has a unique financial circumstance, but there are a few tenets that hold true.
Remember these important points if you plan to borrow student loans:
- Your first and best bet to pay for school is always scholarships and grants. The more scholarships and grants, the lower amount of student loans you will likely need to borrow.
- Your next best source of capital is to maximize your federal student loans.
- Borrow private student loans for the remainder.
Some students prefer to minimize or eliminate student loans to fund their education, and will choose a school that offers free or reduced tuition. In that case, these borrowers may have little to no student loan debt.
In other cases, with a strong credit profile from the borrower or a qualified co-signer, a borrower may be able to obtain an interest rate lower than the latest federal student loan rate. In this case, if you are satisfied with the terms and conditions, you may decide to choose the private student loan instead of a federal student loan.
If you use a co-signer, many private lenders now offer the opportunity for a co-signer release, which allows the co-signer to be removed from the student loan without having any further financial liability.
Zack Friedman is Founder & CEO of Make Lemonade, a personal finance comparison site.