It may not be the best thing to put in your body, but fast food can help you get a jump-start on your future.
A number of regional and national restaurant chains offer scholarship money to promising young people. Chick-fil-A is famous for investing in its employees; it has awarded more than $30 million in scholarships through its Chick-fil-A Foundation, and has also donated millions to educational developments at colleges and universities across the country.
Here are more scholarships connected to some of the nation’s most popular restaurants.
Since 2000, the Burger King Scholars program has awarded more than $25 million in scholarship money to high school students and Burger King employees. Scholarships are available to high school seniors, as well as Burger King employees and their spouses and children, in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.
The Carl N. & Margaret Karcher Founders’ Scholarship Program is open to high school seniors who plan to attend college or vocational school after graduating. It awards up to 60 $1,000 scholarships every year.
Students must live in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington or Wyoming to be eligible for this scholarship.
Certain Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees offer college money to “well-rounded” high school seniors in their communities.
Students must live in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, the Greater Philadelphia area or certain parts of Florida (Palm Beach-Treasure Coast, Greater Miami-Fort Lauderdale, or Greater Fort Myers-Naples) to be eligible for this scholarship.
The chain’s Kentucky Fried Chicken Foundation is inspired by founder Harlan Sanders’ “rich history of generosity.” According to its website, it has given more than $14 million in scholarship money. Every year, it awards three main scholarships:
- – REACH Educational Grant Program: Gives grants of $2,000 and $2,500 to help KFC employees “pursue their educational dreams”
- – REACH HIGH: Helps KFC employees earn their GEDs
- – KFC Family Fund: Provides money to KFC employees “who have been directly impacted by a severe hardship, crisis or catastrophic incident that was beyond their control”
The famous Ronald McDonald House Charities are best known for supporting sick children and their families, but they also help college-bound students pay for their educations. They offer four key scholarships:
- – RMHC/Scholars: Open to all students under age 21 who have at least a 2.7 GPA and exhibit financial need
- – RMHC/Asia: Applicants must have at least one parent of Asian-Pacific heritage
- – RMHC/African-American Future Achievers: Applicants must have at least one parent of African-American or Black Caribbean heritage
- – RMHC/HACER: Applicants must have at least one parent of Hispanic/Latino heritage
Students can apply for these scholarships at their local RMHC chapters.
The Taco Bell Foundation gives $1 million annually to young adults through the Live Más Scholarship program. Awards range from $2,500 to $25,000, and applicants must submit 2-minute videos explaining their life’s passions in order to be considered.
The popular Wendy’s High School Heisman program rewards high school athletes who excel “in the classroom, on the field and within (the) community.” Applicants must have at least a B average, play a school-sponsored sport, and act as a leader and role model.
Recipients’ schools also benefit from this program — each state winner’s school is given $1,000, and the two national winners’ schools receive $5,000.