7 Scholarships for Legacy Students

In 1972, The Godfather was released to theaters to widespread acclaim. Among the numerous shoot-em-up scenes, intense and expressive acting, and quotable lines, audiences the world over appreciated the subtext of the film. In an opening scene, the leader of an Italian organized crime family, Don Vito Corleone questions his godson, asking him if he spends time with his family. When the young man responds in the affirmative, Vito replies, “Good. Because a man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.”

Machismo aside, Vito’s message and the underlying theme of the film is overtly clear: family is everything, and family comes first. As those in close-knit families can attest, a family can often feel overbearing, but at the end of the day, they are there for you as you are for them. As students head off to college, many are unsure of what to do, where to go, or how to pay the extensive tuition fees, among other things. Here, young students should take a lesson from Vito Corleone: your family will help you.

For many young students, appealing to your family for help is the best thing you can do, especially in the case of the following scholarships, which lean heavily on the history and also the actions of their parents. Here are a few options for scholarships a legacy student, and hopefully, you’ll find an offer you can’t refuse:

A student sitting on a staircase with a backpack next to them.

RIT Alumni Legacy Endowed Scholarship

Deadline: March 16, 2020

Amount: $1,500

A leafy, sprawling campus, sprung from the concrete sidewalk suburbs of New York’s third-largest city, the Rochester Institute of Technology draws in students from all corners of the world. Capitalizing on both a well-deserved fantastic academic reputation as well as its location in one of the most popular college areas in the northeast, the Rochester metropolitan area, RIT is consistently one of the highest-ranked engineering institutions in the country.

One of the more selective institutions in the state of New York, an RIT legacy student has the opportunity to apply for the Alumni Legacy Endowed Scholarship, funded by the school’s widespread alumni. Any incoming freshmen, undergraduate and post-graduate student may apply for this legacy award, providing they have at least a 3.0 GPA.

The scholarship awards three or four students each year, based on “the student’s demonstrated financial need, leadership ability, and academic performance”. The financial stipends depend based on the number of applicants but usually fall between $500-$1,500.

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Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship

Deadline: February 26, 2020

Amount: Varying

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States has been irrevocably changed. Television news networks have been blaring images of the aftershocks for fifteen years now: war zones, burning buildings, landmark speeches, and memorial services. However, the images we don’t see are often the most powerful; the empty chair at the head of the kitchen table, the absent mother at her daughter’s high school graduation, or the man struggling up the steps in the middle of the night.

The Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship aims to give a voice and a vision to those who suffered a horrific loss in the wars in the Middle East since 9/11 and leaving them with a hole in their heart as they proceed onwards to college. Funded by private donations as well as profits from a children’s book written by President Obama, the scholarship awards an unmarried dependent (under 23) of a deceased or disabled veteran.

Financial rewards vary each year, and those interested can expect the information to be posted in December of 2016. The scholarship student will honor the legacy of their parent through attending an institution of higher learning, with financial assistance, as well as completing their degree.

University of Virginia Legacy Scholarship

Deadline: April 11, 2020

Amount: $5,000

Thomas Jefferson, founding father and audacious revolutionary document author, once said of schooling, “A man who qualifies himself well for his calling, never fails of employment.” Jefferson was nothing if not committed to his principles. Keeping with his theme of hoping to help young people become qualified for jobs, Jefferson founded the University of Virginia in 1819, ten years after finishing his second term as President.

Just a stone’s throw from Jefferson’s Monticello estate, UVA continues to train young scholars to this day. UVA prides itself on its close-knit alumni community, a group of graduates that passes down the UVA legacy from generation to generation via avenues such as the Legacy Scholarship.

Open to incoming freshmen whose parent or legal guardian obtained a degree from UVA, the scholarship offers a $5,000 award based on “a balance of merit and financial circumstance”. The award renews annually and given to one student for each entering class.

Elks National Foundation Legacy Awards

Deadline: TBD for 2021 (Opens September 1, 2020)

Amount: $1,000

The Elks National Foundation is an offshoot of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of The United States. Confused? I don’t blame you. As the proud grandson of an Elk, here’s a quick rundown: First off, they have nothing to do with hunting or actual elks, it’s simply a symbol, a purely American animal, adopted to represent the group during its inception. The group itself is a fraternal organization, traditionally a men’s club, but women have been “permitted” to join since the early nineties.

The Elks pride themselves on fostering a friendly environment, helping their local communities through charitable work, and aiding veterans. Famous Elks include President Franklin D. Roosevelt and actor Clint Eastwood. As a fraternal, or brotherly, organization, the Elks place great importance on the family of their club members. One such way is the Foundation’s Legacy Awards, which are $1,000 scholarships awarded to children and grandchildren of Elks.

Applicants must be high school seniors, have completed the ACT or SAT, and be a descendant of someone who has been an Elk for at least three years. The Foundation’s Board of Trustees selects recipients. The board provides the winners with thousand dollar scholarships, renewable for four years.

University of Kentucky Legacy Tuition Program

Deadline: June 1, 2020 (Fall 2020 semester)

Amount: Varying

The University of Kentucky is widely recognized for its legendary basketball program, but there is more to the Lexington institution than hoops and hardwood. The university contains sixteen colleges and over sixty doctoral programs, and, according to the Kentucky General Assembly, aims to become a top twenty public research university in the country within the next five years.

In the Bluegrass State, heritage is everything, a fact reflected through UK’s Legacy Tuition Program. Students who would a) normally have to pay non-resident rates, and b) also have parents that earned a degree from the UK are eligible for up to eight semesters of reduced tuition, providing they apply as an incoming freshman.

The financial award varies based on certain academic standards. If a student has an ACT score of 31 or an SAT score of 1360, alongside a high school GPA of 3.5, they will be eligible for nearly $14,000, the difference in tuition between in-state and out-of-state residents. One rung down, students with an ACT score of 28 or an SAT score of 1250, with a high school GPA of 3.0, will be eligible for $4,500 a year. Any other legacy student can also get $3,000 for up to four years. Quite the deal for legacy Wildcats.

Drake University Legacy Awards

Deadline: Enrollment

Amount: $2,500

Located in the beautiful Des Moines, Iowa, Drake University awards students whose family attended in the past. Each year, Drake University gives a $2,500 to legacy students who note in their application that a family member attended previously. Even better, you can renew the legacy student award for all four years!

American Legion Legacy Scholarship

Deadline: April 15; November 15

Amount: Varying

The American Legion, known as one of the country’s most notable veteran’s organizations, has existed in some form or another since the end of the First World War. The society has produced ten Presidents, two Academy Award winners, and a number of medal of honor recipients. Their motto, “For God and Country,” is a notable rallying cry among soldiers, recently in the news for being shouted by a Navy SEAL following the death of Osama bin Laden. The Legion does indeed take care of their country, and specifically, those who fought for their country.

In 2001, the Legion established the Legacy Scholarship for the children of fallen soldiers fighting in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In a similar vein to the previously discussed Heroes’ Legacy Scholarship, the award promises to honor the legacy of these service members by helping their children through college.

The financial aid received depends heavily on a few factors each year, including tuition rates and the national average of student loans. However, any incoming freshman or high school senior who lost a parent in the Afghanistan or Iraq conflicts is eligible to apply, with tuition money awarded going towards any accredited institution in the United States.


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