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Need Help Paying for College? Win a Scholarship for Young Treps If you're a young entrepreneur who's planning to start college in the fall, this scholarship may be for you. But hurry, the deadline to apply is December 17.

By Kara Ohngren Prior

What better way to encourage young entrepreneurs than by rewarding them with college scholarships?

Each year, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), through its Young Entrepreneur Foundation (YEF), offers a varying range of 1,000 to $10,000 scholarships to students who have started their own business.

The program was established in 2003 to raise awareness among young people of the critical role that private enterprise and entrepreneurship play in the overall health of the country's economy. Since then, 2,500 graduating high-school seniors have received scholarships totaling $2.5 million. Nearly half of past recipients still run their own business today, according to a recent survey by the YEF.

Related: Want to Study Entrepreneurship? How to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

"Entrepreneurship teaches creativity, hard work and problem solving. Starting and running a business is invaluable in paving the way for young people to become responsible adults," says Molly Young, YEF program manager. "By recognizing and rewarding entrepreneurial pursuits, we're encouraging young people to use entrepreneurship as a means to a better future for themselves and all of society."

The scholarship application deadline for this year's awards is Monday, Dec. 17. Applicants must be graduating high-school seniors who are entering their freshman year at an accredited two- or four-year university, college or vocational institute in the fall of 2013. They must also demonstrate entrepreneurial spirit and initiative through having established a business of their own.

Related: Could This Free Online University Be Your Next Start-Up Incubator?

Here's how to apply:

  • Application materials must be submitted by December 17, 2012.
  • The independent-selection committee will review all applications and select semi-finalists by mid-January, 2013.
  • All semi-finalists are required to be interviewed by an NFIB member.
  • Scholarships are merit-based, not based on financial need.

What other scholarships do you know of exclusively for young entrepreneurs? Let us know in the comments section below.

Kara Ohngren is a freelance writer and part-time editor at YoungEntrepreneur. Her work has appeared in publications including Entrepreneur Magazine, The New York Times, MSNBC, The Huffington Post and Business Insider.

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