The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., is announcing its 2014 high school, college and graduate/older student essay scholarship competitions, offering more than $23,000 in total cash prizes.
FFRF, founded in 1978 as a state/church watchdog and freethought (atheist/agnostic) association, has offered a college essay competition since 1979, added a separate contest for college-bound high school seniors in 1994, and one for “graduate/older students ages 25-30” four years ago.
“Thousands of scholarship programs reward students for blind faith and orthodoxy, but few reward them for using reason,” noted FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.
The William J. Schulz Memorial High School Senior Essay Competition asks college-bound high school seniors to write a 500-700 word essay on “A Moment When I Spoke Up for Freethought/Secularism.”
“My Atheist/Unbeliever ‘Coming Out’ Story” is the topic of a 700-900 word essay for FFRF’s Michael Hakeem Memorial College Essay Competition.
“Why ‘Religious Liberty’ Does Not Mean the Right to Impose Your Religion on Others” is the timely topic of the Brian Bolton Graduate/ “Older” Student Essay Competition. FFRF thanks Brian Bolton, a retired University of Arkansas professor, for generously underwriting this contest.
The awards for each contest are $3,000 first place, $2,000 second place, $1,000 third place, $750 fourth place, $500 fifth place and $400 for sixth place. Several $200 “honorable mentions” may be awarded at judges’ discretion.
Additionally, any winning student who is a member of a secular high school or college club or signs up (for free) to become part of the Secular Student Alliance before entering the competition will automatically receive an additional $50 grant from FFRF members Dean and Dorea Schramm. The Schramms wish to support the SSA and reward student activism and participation in secular campus activities.
Last year FFRF bestowed $33,000 in cash scholarships to 48 deserving freethinking student essayists.
Download PDFs of our topics and requirements at: http://ffrf.org/outreach/ffrf-student-scholarship-essay-contests
FFRF members: Please publicize FFRF’s important outreach to the next generation, students in your life, and to your local high schools, colleges and universities.