Vast array of college scholarships are available for Jewish students

There are many scholarship options available to students.

By Jessica Goldberg sophomore, John Burroughs School

Generations of Jewish families in America have made obtaining a college degree a significant priority. Recent findings from a 2014 Pew Research Center survey reveal that 58 percent of Jewish people are college graduates compared to only 29 percent of total adults in America. Regardless of their financial wherewithal, very few Jewish high school students and parents can ignore the rising expense associated with a college education.

“Paying for college has become an increasingly significant topic in college counseling,” said Scott Cornwell, Ladue Horton Watkins High School College and Career Advisor. “The primary responsibility for paying for college rests with the family. Just as it is important to have academic fit, a family must consider financial fit.”

Fortunately, scholarship awards and interest free loans are available to St. Louis area Jewish high school students seeking to offset the staggering sticker price of a college education. The Jewish Community Foundation of St. Louis is among the organizations offering financial support to Jewish teens. It provides several scholarship awards, which range from $1,000 to $2,500.

Some of these awards are aimed at students pursuing particular professional degrees, such as law, medicine, or journalism. Other awards are available to students matriculating at any Missouri college or university. In addition, The Jewish Community Foundation also supports students who are pursuing a rabbinic career with scholarship money. Students interested in obtaining an application for one of these Jewish Community Foundation awards can find an application on the Scholarship Central website at

For the past 17 years, the Anti-Defamation League of Missouri/Southern Illinois has awarded two Jewish high school seniors the Meyer and Marcelle Kranzberg Memorial Scholarship, which provides a $2,000 four-year college scholarship ($500 each year). The Kranzberg Scholarship recognizes Jewish students who have exhibited outstanding commitment to the Jewish community and Jewish values and represent the future of ADL advocacy and education.

“The scholarship was an honor and solidified my connection to the ADL and the Jewish Community,” said Madison Rinder, one of the recipients of last year’s 2014 Kranzberg Scholarship.

Rinder, a congregant at Traditional Congregation and current freshman at Northwestern University, described how scholarships such as the Kranzberg Memorial facilitated relationships among Jewish students.

“These programs and scholarships are a great way to meet other Jewish students who are very passionate and involved in the Jewish community,” Rinder said.

Rinder graduated last spring from John Burroughs School where she was active in many aspects of the school community that affected Jewish students.

“I was very honored to receive the award, knowing that there were many students who had been involved in Jewish organizations and groups, and who had also advocated for Judaism at their high schools,” Rinder said.

St. Louis Jewish students should also be looking outside their hometown for financial support for college. The Morris J. and Betty Kaplun Foundation in Great Neck, New York has provided 24 years of awards for winners of a nationwide annual essay contest about Jewish issues. This year’s essay contest, open to students in grades 10 through 12, asks “What is it that Jews of all degrees of religious observance have in common that binds us together?” The first-prize winner receives $1,800 and five finalists each receive $750.

Graduating high school seniors attending a four-year college are eligible to apply for either of two Spirit of Anne Frank Awards. The $10,000 Leah and Edward Frankel Scholarship is evenly divided throughout four years of college. Additionally, a one-time $5,000 scholarship award is available to the second place winner. Several substantial stipends are available to finalists as well.

The Spirit of Anne Frank Awards recognize students who represent the kind of commitment and courage exhibited by Anne Frank. Such students must demonstrate extraordinary leadership in their schools and communities. Examples of such activities include spearheading programs, organizations or events that address intolerance, prejudice and injustice in their communities. Applicants are required to submit a 1,000-word essay describing their contributions. Applications open each year in November and close in February.

For interested high school students, more college scholarship and loan information is available. Feel free to contact the author at [email protected] for more information.