Yea, this one’s going to sound really weird. And there’s a good reason for that. It is just that weird. The Zolp Scholarship may just be the strangest scholarship offered in the United States. It’s certainly the most unusual grant or scholarship I’ve ever encountered. But if your last name is Zolp and you’re a practicing Catholic, you might just earn a free ride to attend Loyola University Chicago. In fact, most people who meet those narrow qualifications do just that.
Father Richard Zolp was a Catholic priest who not only attended Loyola University but also later endowed this rather strange scholarship for others who had his uncommon last name. Not many people are eligible for it, but when they are it’s a pretty awesome way to pay for college. The Joliet, IL family of Alice and Bernard Zolp sent all four of their kids and even one of their grandchildren to school at Loyola thanks to Father Zolp. And most people have only ever heard of this private Jesuit university due to its 1963 men’s NCAA basketball championship. Well now here’s another reason.
Unlike most traditional scholarships, the Zolp has nothing to do with grades at all. The only requirements here are that your last name is Zolp and that you have paperwork from the Catholic Church. Don’t worry about trying to change your last name. That simply won’t work. But as long as you are able to become accepted to attend Loyola University Chicago and you have a valid birth certificate and baptismal or confirmation certificate showing that your name is actually Zolp, you’re good to go. There is an annual deadline to apply and your documentation must be filed with the school’s office of financial assistance by February 1. The number of scholarships and the actual amount offered can vary from year to year depending on availability. But since the scholarship is so rare, usually those that apply receive a full scholarship that covers their tuition for their entire four years of college when they are found eligible. I know if my last name had been Zolp where I’d have gone to college. If its yours, get to applying.