Okay, you know that this blog is “Simply for Dogs.” But once in a while, I do step out of my comfort zone, and consider people, and other animals. There are a lot of people who really, really want to help animals, but they don’t have the financial wherewithal to allow them to do so. Some of them want to take courses at veterinary colleges and help animals in that way. But not everyone can afford to go to veterinary college – they need scholarships, not just for dog owners, but for animal lovers in general.
What I find sad is people slogging away at animal shelters, or working as volunteers at veterinary clinics, who are happy that they’re doing something for animals but who want to do so much more, and can’t, just because they don’t have the financial wherewithal to get the education that they need.
Fortunately, there are scholarships available. Some are more lucrative than others. You might not find a single scholarship that will give you a “free ride” at the veterinary college of your choice, but you may be able to piece together several that will at least offset the cost of your education. It’s going to take a bit of work, though, and you’ll probably have to apply for several scholarships as opposed to just one or two.
I remember back in my college days – I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. Even today, I envy people who do have an idea of where their career path will take them. So this time around, I’d like to do something for people who are just starting out, and who feel that their course in life is going to take them in the direction of doing something for animals – and not just dogs, although dogs are, of course, my passion.
So, with that in mind, here is my list of the top 25 scholarships for dog owners, and animal lovers in general. If you want to channel your education in a direction that will help you to do good work for animals once you graduate, a little financial help couldn’t hurt, right? Read on.
1. Kelly Stadler Animal Lovers Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship is presented annually. You can be a full time or a part time student who is seeking a degree in veterinary technology. The requirements are financial need, a GPA of at least 3.0, and demonstrated responsibility and ambition in working with animals. This is a really good scholarship, because most of the time, scholarships are directed toward people who want to pursue a DVM degree – there really isn’t all that much out there for people who don’t want to be veterinarians – they just want to work with animals, helping in veterinary clinics. If this sounds like you, then this scholarship is for you. Deadline is May 30.
Kelly Stadler Animal Lovers Memorial Scholarship
P.O. Box 13489
St. Petersburg, FL 33733
2. Campbell Family Charitable Trust Scholarships
How many times have you seen ads in your local paper, or on Kijiji, or posted on the bulletin board of your local grocery store, or on Facebook, saying things like “Free to good home, I don’t have time for him anymore,” or “Mom is going into a nursing home and can’t keep her dog, so I’m posting this for her,” or “I am an old woman and I broke my hip and I can’t take care of my dog any longer”? The Campbell Family Charitable Trust understands that life can sometimes throw you a curve ball, and works to prevent people from surrendering their pets when there could be an alternative. $8,500 is available for full time students who are in pre-vet, vet tech or other pet-focused fields and who want to help prevent this from happening. You must be a US citizen with a minimum GPA of 275. Deadline is June 30.
Campbell Family Charitable Trust Scholarships
8000 NE Tillamook St.
Portland, OR 97213
3. Oxbow Animal Health Scholarships
This scholarship can offset your tuition by up to $1000. That might not sound like a whole lot of money, but every little bit helps. The scholarship is available to high school seniors, undergrads, and veterinary students. You must demonstrate leadership qualities and an interest in protecting companion animals, so a history of volunteering with your local animal shelter or humane society would be an asset when applying for this scholarship. Deadline is March 1.
Oxbow Animal Health Scholarships
29012 Mill Rd.
Murdock, NE 68407
4. A Voice for Animals Essay Contest Scholarships
It’s never too early to start thinking about ways to finance your education, so even if you’re not in your graduation year from high school, you can still enter A Voice for Animals’ essay contest. This scholarship is available to students ages 16-18 who submit an essay on humane animal treatment. Preference is given to students who have actually participated in an animal welfare project. Points are given for originality and inventiveness, so fire up your word processing program and start thinking outside the box. The deadline is May 31.
A Voice for Animals Essay Contest Scholarships
P.O. Box 60715
Palo Alto, CA 94306
5. Arizona National Livestock Show Scholarship Program
Scholarships aren’t just for dog owners. Do you think that horses are nature’s most perfect animals? Love cattle? If this sounds like you, and if you are a student who has participated in a horse or livestock show in Arizona, this scholarship could provide you with $1500. You will need to have a 2.5 or better GPA, and selection is based on academic achievement, extra-curricular activities, competence as an animal exhibitor, and your career plans. If you’re a reasonably competent student, and ideally a member of a 4H club or FFA, you fit the criteria for this scholarship. Deadline is March 15.
Arizona National Livestock Show Scholarship Program
1826 West McDowell Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
6. Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest
Speaking of “outside the box,” you need some special skills to qualify for this scholarship, but if you’re a good duck caller, you could end up with $2000. Second place is good for $1000, third for $750, and fourth for $500. Duck callers, get quacking! (Pun most definitely intended!) Deadline is October 31.
Chick and Sophie Major Memorial Duck Calling Contest
P.O. Box 1500
Stuttgart, AR 7216
7. Doris Day Animal Foundation Scholarship
Everyone knows how much Doris Day loves animals. If you read the National Enquirer, you’ll see article after article about Doris and her dogs, and her love for other animals.With this scholarship, the beloved actress awards various amounts to exceptional veterinary students at the University of Columbia. Preference is given to those who are committed to animal shelters and the welfare of homeless animals. There is no specific deadline.
Doris Day Animal Foundation Scholarship
8033 Sunset Blvd. Suite 845
Los Angeles, CA 90046
8. Frances Allen Scholarship Award
This award is specifically for people who are studying fisheries sciences, including fish culture, aquatic biology, limnology, marine engineering or oceanography. Most of the scholarships in this post relate to domesticated animals, but hey, wild fish need love too! You must submit your college transcript and a research proposal along with three letters of recommendation and a current resume. Deadline is March 6.
Frances Allen Scholarship Award
5103 Junction Highway
Mountain Home, TX 78058
(830) 866-3356 ext. 211
9. International Boar Semen Scholarship Program
Boar semen? Well hey, if fish make you feel all warm and snuggly, just remember that pigs need a little bit of lovin’ too, and sometimes from other pigs! Graduating high school students and undergrads can benefit from this scholarship dedicated to research in swine management. The scholarship is worth $500, and requires a 250 word essay. Come on, guys, that’s about a page in Microsoft Word using a 12 point font, so get going. Deadline is June 1.
International Boar Semen Scholarship Program
30355 260th St.
Eldora, IA 50627
10. Jacksonville Herpetological Society Scholarship
This is a scholarship for reptile-lovers. If you adore snakes and lizards, then you’ll definitely want to investigate this scholarship that is given annually to students who are majoring in amphibian and/or reptile conservation. Applicants must have a GPA of at least 3.0, have put in a minimum of 30 volunteer hours, and must submit a 500-word essay (in other words, about 2 pages in Microsoft Word) on herpetology. Deadline is March 11.
Jacksonville Herpetological Society Scholarship
P.O. Box 37336
Jacksonville, FL 32236
11. Kathy Larson Memorial Llama Association Scholarship
Do you love ruminants?This is a $500 award for young people who have llamas and are studying in Michigan. It’s good for any field of study that relates to llamas and other ruminants, but you must have a GPA of at least 2.7 and be carrying a course load of at least 12 hours per semester. Deadline is May 31.
Kathy Larson Memorial Llama Association Scholarship
10591 Corcoran Rd.
Haslett, MI 48840
12. Lancaster Kennel Club Veterinary Technician Scholarship
Are you a dog snob? Know that there’s nothing wrong with mixed breeds, but still prefer purity in your dogs? Consider a Labradoodle to be nothing more than a mutt? This scholarship is for people who love purebred dogs, and who exhibit them in the Lancaster area. Students who are enrolled in a vet tech program can receive $1000, assuming that they are entering either their second term or their third. Take note, though, that this is a kennel club scholarship, and that exhibiting is an absolute requirement to qualify for this scholarship. It’s a scholarship for just any dog owners, so no matter how much you might love your mixed breed dog, if you don’t own and show an AKC recognized breed, you will not qualify. Deadline is May 11.
Lancaster Kennel Club Veterinary Technician Scholarship
P.O. Box 7511
Lancaster, PA 17604
13. Shaw-Worth Memorial Humane Society Scholarship
Do you think that there’s nothing better a person can do than rescue an animal in distress? This scholarship delivers $2500 per year to students who respect animals and have demonstrated that respect. Preference is given to candidates who have worked in animal rescue and who want to enter a field devoted to animal care. The criteria here is obviously pretty narrow, so if you haven’t rescued an animal in some way – even just by taking into your home and heart a dog that would have been put to sleep if a home couldn’t be found for him – you will not qualify for this scholarship. Dog owners who have rescued, and also work with rescue organizations, will be in the best position to receive this scholarship. Deadline is March 15.
Shaw-Worth Memorial Humane Society Scholarship
2100 L St. NW
Washington, DC 20037
14. Marcia Brady Tucker Travel Award in Ornithology
Love birds? This is a scholarship for bird-lovers in doctoral programs, designed to help them further their research. Candidates must submit a research proposal of at least three pages, a recommendation from a mentor, and a current resume. Specific scholarship amounts were not available at time of writing, but every little bit helps, right? Now, you might be wondering, “How in the world do I find a bird mentor?” One of the easiest ways of doing this would be to join a 4H club devoted to birds – your leader is your mentor! Deadline is May 31.
Marcia Brady Tucker Travel Award in Ornithology
5400 Bosque Blvd. Suite 680
Waco, TX 76710
15. Rachel Fischoff Scholarship for Wildlife Rehabilitation
This is another award for graduate students. Applicants must be studying wildlife conservation, ecology or animal science. The award assists with purchasing materials for study and costs of attending workshops and seminars. Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation, an essay, and a statement of financial need. In other words, this scholarship is not based entirely on academic achievement. No matter how good your grades and your references, if you’re able to pay your own way, you will not qualify for this scholarship. Deadline is October 1.
Rachel Fischoff Scholarship for Wildlife Rehabilitation
2625 Clearwater Rd. Suite 110
St. Cloud, MN 56301
16. Marshall E. McCullough Scholarship Fund
Some people just love cows, and if this sounds like you, then you could benefit from this scholarship. This award offers anywhere from $1500 to $2500 to seniors graduating high school who plan to pursue a four-year program in animal or dairy science with an emphasis on communication. Given that this scholarship is not available to people who are already enrolled in graduate programs, it could provide a really good kick-start to you if you’re just leaving high school and pursuing a program related to those beautiful bovines! Deadline is April 15.
Marshall E. McCullough Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 725
Denmark, WI 54208
17. Winner’s Circle Scholarship Program
Here’s a scholarship for horse fanciers. This scholarship is worth $1500, and is available to students who are entering year four of an AVMA-approved program. Applicants must submit an essay (750 words – about 3 pages in Microsoft word using a 12 point font) stating their goals in equine medicine, as well as a transcript of their marks, verification of financial needs, and two letters of recommendation. Note that financial need is a requirement, so if you’re capable of paying your own way, it’s unlikely that you will be considered for this scholarship. Deadline is February 14.
Winner’s Circle Scholarship Program
1818 Versailles Rd.
Lexington, KY 40504
18. Mary and Leonard Stiles Memorial Scholarship
It’s been said that everything is bigger and better in Texas, and so are the scholarships. This scholarship is worth $2000 annually to a Texan high school senior who has been involved in ranching or farming. Preference is given to student who will study large animal medicine or agriculture.
Mary and Leonard Stiles Memorial Scholarship
1600 Gendy St.
Fort Worth, TX 76107
19. L.A.Y. Scholars Helping Collars Scholarship
This is a scholarship for students who have demonstrated an ability and a willingness to help animals in need. Applicants must submit an essay (500-1000 words, or anywhere from 2 to 4 pages in Microsoft Word using a 12 point font) outlining the efforts that they have made in contributing to animal welfare. If this sounds pretty flexible, it’s because it is. It’s a scholarship for dog owners and anyone else who has gone the extra mile to help an animal in need. If your dog is a rescue, that’s a good start. In your essay, talk about what would have happened to your dog if you had not rescued him, why you rescued him, and what the outcome was for both him and you. Deadline is December 3.
P.L.A.Y. Scholars Helping Collars Scholarship
246 Second St. Unit A
San Francisco, CA 94105
20. Vegetarian Resource Group College Scholarships
To qualify for this scholarship, you must abstain from eating meat (this includes poultry and fish). We know, it sounds crazy. You can have eggs if you like. If you can abstain from meat, poultry and fish, though, the reward is outstanding – one $10,000 scholarship and two $5000 scholarships to students who are willing to promote a vegetarian lifestyle and promise to commit to maintaining such. In other words, it’s about as close to a “free ride” as you can get. In all honesty, we don’t know what the follow-up is like here – we can’t guarantee that people from the Vegetarian Resource Group aren’t going to spy on you and yank your scholarship if you’re found to be eating forbidden foods. So if you can’t finance your education in other ways, and you can’t stop being a carnivore, it might be best to give this one a pass. Otherwise, go ahead and apply. Deadline is February 20.
Vegetarian Resource Group College Scholarships
P.O. Box 1463
Baltimore, MD 21203
21. Elinor McGrath Memorial Veterinary Scholarship
This scholarship is available to women only, who are entering year 1, 2 or 3 of veterinary college in either the United States or the Caribbean. We don’t know why men are not eligible, since we’ve come to the point in our society where “affirmative action” for female veterinarians is no longer needed. As of the time of this writing, more than 55% of America’s veterinarians are women. That said, if you’re a woman, go ahead and apply for this scholarship. Deadline is May 15.
Dr. Elinor McGrath Memorial Veterinary Scholarship
1931 North Meacham Rd.
Schaumburg, IL 60173
(800) 248-2862 ext. 6690
22. American Quarter Horse Foundation Youth Scholarships
This scholarship gives $4,000 over each of four years to high school seniors who have been members of the AQHYA or the AQHA for at least three years. Applicants must have graduated in the top quarter of their class, be proven leaders, and have a 2.5 or higher GPA. One would also imagine that performance on the QH circuit would also be a factor in determining who will win this scholarship. Deadline is December 1.
American Quarter Horse Foundation Youth Scholarships
2601 East Interstate 40
Amarillo, TX 79104
23. Spurling Scholarships for Responsible Pet Ownership
Every year, the AKC gives out five scholarships worth $10,000 each to grads or undergrads who are involved in any program that involves veterinary medicine or technology, animal care, physical care, animal behavior, training or grooming. Candidates are selected based on how well they do academically, their career goals and their recommendations. Essays are recommended but not required. This is another of those scholarships for dog owners and others that will give you the closest thing to a “free ride” as you’ll ever get, and the qualifications seem pretty loose. We would recommend ignoring the caveat to the effect that “essays are recommended but not required.” When this much money is on the table, write the essay. And make it a good one! The deadline is June 1
John D. Spurling Scholarships for Responsible Pet Ownership
8051 Arco Corporate Drive Suite 100
Raleigh, NC 27617
24. Dannie Jasmine Mule Deer Foundation Scholarship
This scholarship is sponsored by the Mule Deer Foundation, and offers $500 to high school seniors who have contributed in a significant way to blacktail and mule deer conservation and who are enrolled in the University of Nevada’s Environmental and Resource Sciences program full-time. Obviously, the window of eligibility is very narrow here. You need to have not just contributed to conserving mule deer and blacktail deer, you must have done it in a significant way. If you fit perfectly into this niche, then you should definitely apply for this scholarship, since the applicants will likely be few and far between. If you don’t, then give this one a pass – it’s only $500, and you’d be better off to channel your efforts in other directions. Deadline is June 15.
Dannie Jasmine Mule Deer Foundation Scholarship
1005 Terminal Way Suite 170
Reno, NV 89502
25. Nicole White and Christopher Vose Memorial Scholarships
This award is presented annually by the Maine Morgan Horse Club. The award is worth $1000 to candidates who have been members of the club for at least two years, and who are under the age of 22. Preferred candidates will be extensively involved with horses, have demonstrated community service and leadership, and have achieved high academic standing. One of the main advantages to applying for this scholarship is that if you’re already pursuing your education in animal science, you will still qualify assuming that you are no older than 22. And even though the scholarship is offered by the Maine Morgan Horse Club, ownership of a Morgan is not required – you can simply love horses of any breed! Deadline is May 6.
Nicole White and Christopher Vose Memorial Scholarships
10 Sea Grass Farm Rd.
Brunswick, ME 04011
So, there you have 25 awesome animal rights scholarships. Even one can help. Even one can help a person who wants to pursue a career that will help animals. Added together, you could possibly help someone who might end up being a real force when it comes to assisting animals.
Other Ways of Paying for Your Education
Of course if you can get a scholarship, or several scholarships for dog owners and other animal lovers, that’s the absolute best way of paying for your education. If you find that you don’t qualify for scholarships, though, there are other ways that you can get money to pay your way through veterinary college or other programs that will lead you to a career that involves helping animals.
1. 529 Plan
Did your parents invest in a 529 plan? This is a tax-advantaged program that allows your parents to tuck away money over a period of time. Many parents start saving really early for their child’s education, and with a 529 plan, every single cent counts. When a 529 plan is started early enough, a child’s entire college education can actually end up being funded!
Now, here’s the thing – since 529 plans are often rolled into other investment strategies, and often arranged when things are in flux, following the birth of a child, planning for life insurance, retirement funds and other monetary strategies, your parents may not even remember that they set up a plan for your education! This could be money that is just sitting there waiting to be claimed. So ask. An amazing 51% of parents actually have a plan for financing every single year of their child’s education, and they might not even
FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) can unlock all kinds of money for dog owners who may not have access to scholarships. For dog owners, filling out an FAFSA application can open up all kinds of possibilities for grants and student loans. Make sure, too, that you exhaust other options for federal student loans. Many have very flexible re-payment options when you compare them with other types of student loans. You eligibility will depend to a certain extent on your credit history, though, so if your credit is not good, take steps to rehabilitate it before applying.
3. Private Loans
There are any number of companies out there that are willing to give you a private loan. Before you commit to one of these companies, though, make sure that you have exhausted all government options – private companies are going to demand a much higher interest rate, and that means that you need to be confident of being able to make quite a bit of money upon graduation in order to pay back a high-interest loan.
Another type of private loan, though, might carry a much lower interest rate, or even no interest at all. This would be where you go to the “Bank of Mom and Dad,” or “The Bank of Grandma.” In other words, you have a relative with deep pockets, who is willing to take a chance on you, knowing that you may never be able to pay back the money they lent you.
Of course that we hope you won’t stiff Grandma. But this is one of the ways that you can borrow money without having to worry about taking a hit to your credit rating if you should default.
4. Look for “Signing Bonuses”
You’ve heard of signing bonuses when it comes to taking a job – a company offers you so much money for coming on board, provided that you agree to stay with them for a certain length of time. Colleges and universities do something similar – they increase the amount of financial aid that they’ll give you in order to induce you to either enroll with them, or stay with them after you’ve enrolled. Often, this type of “signing bonus” can be a thousand dollars or more. Colleges do this because they want to keep up their reputation – if they have highly successful, very credible graduates, then more people will be drawn to them.
5. Contact Schools Directly
Often, universities and colleges offer scholarships, but they don’t advertise the availability. So contact the institution of your choice, and find out what they have available.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Duplicate Effort
What this means is that if you’re applying for a scholarship, and they want an essay, you can absolutely use an essay that you used for another scholarship application. They’re trying to get a sense of who you are, and whether you’re a good fit. They’re not concerned with whether you used an essay in your application to another institution. So if what you wrote was “gold,” don’t feel that you have to re-invent the wheel – just submit the same essay to the other institution.
These are other ways that you can come up with money for your education. But please, please, keep on applying for scholarships. For dog owners, scholarships can be gold. And of course, this has been the focus of this post. What we’re saying here is that there’s nothing wrong with going full-on and making the search for scholarships something like a full time job. In this regard, Google is your best friend. Scour the internet in search of scholarships for dog owners and other animal lovers, and apply for everything that looks credible.
One thing you should never do, though, is pay money to apply for a scholarship. If you come across a site that tells you they have this great scholarship for dog owners, it’s worth thousands of dollars, and all you have to do is pay a small entry fee, get out of there – it’s a scam. No reputable scholarship organization is ever going to ask you for an entry fee.
Is a Scholarship for Dog Owners Really a Good Idea?
Listen, education doesn’t come cheap. And if you want to work with animals, you’re going to need a lot of very technical training. If I had my life to live over again, I think I would very likely have gone into some type of work with animals. As it is, I’m happy blogging about dogs, but it makes me very happy when I talk to young people and they tell me “I want to make a difference – I want to give my whole life over to animals.” That’s why I’m so happy to give you this information about scholarships for dog owners and other animal lovers – because there are a lot of people out there who want to devote their lives to animals, but need a bit of financial help along the way.
Nobody is going to give you a gift – nobody is going to say “Hey, great, you want to be a veterinarian or a vet tech, so here’s your money!” But there is assistance out there, and it’s there in the form of scholarships for dog owners, and also for people who love other kinds of animals. Individual scholarships might not add up to a whole lot of money, but if you add them together you just might be able to come up with enough scratch to get your through the program of your choice.
Now, as to animal scholarships in general, you know I’m all about dogs – but other animals need our care and concern as well. Horses, cattle, pigs, and yes, even snakes! If you’re passionate about animals and want to make them your life’s work, get going on finding the right college, and the right scholarships. What I’ve provided here is just the tip of the iceberg. If you do some vigorous Googling, you will probably find even more scholarships than the ones I’ve described here, devoted to all kinds of animals and the care thereof. I hope this has helped to guide you in the right direction, and I wish you all the success you can possibly achieve in your career.
Finally, never, ever give up. I’m put in mind right now of my veterinarian, Steven, who was working as a vet tech when I first met him. He said to me, “I think I’d like to become a veterinarian, but it’s a lot of money. Maybe I should just stay where I am.
I don’t want to say that I’m responsible for Steven becoming the best veterinarian I’ve ever had, but what I said to him was “Look into your heart. Ten years down the road, are you going to say, ‘I wish…’?”
Steven didn’t have a lot of money. He did it all on scholarships. Now he loves his life, and he’s the veterinarian everybody wants. It’s good for him, and good for his patients. So if becoming a veterinarian, or a vet tech, is your dream, go for it. There are scholarships for dog owners and other animal lovers out there.
The Final Word
Education costs, in any field. But in virtually any field, scholarships are available. There are scholarships for dog owners, and bird owners, and horse owners, and lovers of fish and reptiles. It’s great if you can pay for your education, but if you can’t, there is assistance available. Just do some Googling, find what assistance is available for students in your field, and then go get it.
Nobody can tell you what to do with your life. But if you’ve chosen your path, then follow it. Do whatever you have to do to make your dream come true. Scholarships for dog owners and other animal lovers can help, but you have to go out there and find them. Nobody is going to give you a free lunch, but there are tons of people out there who will help you pay for that lunch in the forms of scholarships for dog owners and others.