Organizations that reward college scholarships are helping create meaningful social change.

A seated group of young people with a 'Scholarships' banner above them.

Eighty-five percent of college students attending four-year universities receive some sort of financial aid.* Without college scholarships, federal student aid, and other financial assistance, many students would lack the resources they need to earn a degree. Fortunately, there are numerous organizations devoted to helping students afford their education. And this generosity is helping to change lives.

Why Is It Important to Earn a Degree?

In the U.S., young adults with at least a bachelor’s degree make an average of $17,500 more a year than their contemporaries who don’t have a degree. That difference alone makes earning a college degree worthwhile. But there are other benefits, too. Those with a bachelor’s degree are also more likely to be satisfied in their jobs, possibly because a college degree greatly expands career opportunities, allowing you to focus on—and eventually work in—the field you’re most interested in.

What’s An Example of an Organization That’s Truly Helping?

There are numerous scholarships for college students, ranging from the small to the quite large. They all have a role to play, but some take the mission of improving lives even further. One of the best examples of this is the Gates Millennium Scholars program.

The Gates Millennium Scholars program is a $1.6 billion initiative specifically designed to help minority students afford higher education. In the United States, underrepresented minorities graduate college at a rate that’s 14 points lower than the graduation rate for white students. This graduation gap is a problem. Our nation needs diversity. As the Gates Millennium Scholars program says, “[A]ll of America’s citizens must have access to opportunity for higher education if our nation is to sustain and advance itself as a global, competitive democracy in the new millennium.”§ By helping minority students afford college, the Gates Millennium Scholars program is helping the nation remain strong and vibrant.

Each year, 1,000 new students receive Gates Millennium scholarships, which average nearly $13,000 each, money that students can apply to tuition and other expenditures at an accredited university. This generosity is paying off. Gates Millennium Scholars have a 96% one-year undergraduate retention rate. Plus, those who earn their bachelor’s degree are eligible to receive graduate degree scholarships from the program, paving the way for recipients to earn their master’s degree and even their doctorate. Through this generosity, the Gates Millennium Scholars program is improving lives and creating the kind of social change that can improve the entire world.

What Else Can Make Earning a Degree More Possible?

For generations, to earn a degree you had to be able to attend classes at a specific location and at specific times. This created significant barriers to those who worked fulltime or did not live near a college. But now, thanks to modern innovations, those old barriers no longer exist. Through online education, you can earn a degree in a flexible, convenient format designed to allow you to complete coursework from home on a schedule you can fit around your job and other responsibilities.

Even better, online learning can allow you to combine educational convenience with all the financial benefits of college and graduate school scholarships. In fact, students at the best online universities routinely earn meaningful scholarships, including Gates Millennium scholarships. For instance, at Walden University—an online university with a mission of social change—students have received nearly $190,000 in funds from the Gates Millennium Scholars program. These scholarships have helped multiple students pursue a degree they might have otherwise been unable to afford.

When you choose to earn a degree online, you’re giving yourself a great opportunity to advance your education and, ultimately, your life. With organizations like the Gates Millennium Scholars program available to help you along, there’s never been a better time to earn a degree.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering online bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


*National Center for Education Statistics, Financial Aid, Fast Facts, on the Internet at https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=31.

† Pew Research Center, The Rising Costs of Not Going to College, Social and Demographic Trends, on the Internet at www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/02/11/the-rising-cost-of-not-going-to-college.

‡ L. Camera, Despite Progress, Graduation Gaps Between Whites and Minorities Persist, U.S. News & World Report, on the Internet at www.usnews.com/news/blogs/data-mine/2015/12/02/college-graduation-gaps-between-white-and-minority-students-persist.

§ Gates Millennium Scholars, The Reason for the Gates Millennium Scholars Program, on the Internet at www.gmsp.org.

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