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The Mensa Education & Research Foundation's college scholarship program bases its awards totally on essays written by the applicants. Consideration is not given to grades, academic program or financial need.

The program is very large in the geographic area it covers (usually about 75 percent of the country), the number of applications (more than 9,000 in recent years), and the amount of money available for awards (an average of $140,000 each year).

U.S. applicants need not be Mensa members. However, Young Mensa members may apply for both these scholarship programs and the additional Mensa Member Scholarship program.

The scholarship application process opens Sept. 15 and closes Jan. 15. Find out more on the Mensa Foundation website.