Keys to college cash

It's often said education is one of the best investments a person can make. But year after year those costs just keep rising.

We show you what it takes to get cash for college and surprisingly it's isn't always good grades.

When it comes to college scholarships, it's no secret that making the grade can lead to cold-hard cash. Bob Jones High college and career advisor Sheila Roberts should know, Bob Jones grads were offered more than $31-million in scholarship money last school year.

"It really just takes research on the part of the student, because there are thousands and thousands of scholarships out there," Roberts said.

But you don't have to be at the top of your class to get college scholarships. In many cases, you just have to meet some specific criteria.

University of Alabama in Huntsville nursing student Kaeti Milton did her research and found that her triumph over thyroid cancer as a teen qualified her for a scholarship through the American Cancer Society.

"I received a scholarship from UAH, and I just wanted to get some extra money for books on the side and supplies and I saw the American Cancer Society's scholarship and that I was eligible for it," Milton said.

You can point out just about any characteristic and there's likely a scholarship for that. For example, if you're tall, 6'2 or taller for men and 5'10 or taller for women, you can apply for a $1,000 scholarship from Tall Club International.

On the flip side, Little People of America offers scholarships to students who are 4'10 or shorter.

Even your eating habits can get you money for school. The Vegetarian Resource Group offers two $5,000 scholarships a year to students who don't eat meat, fish or fowl and promote vegetarianism in their community.

If you have a creative side, you can try your hand at designing amazing prom outfits. The only catch is you have to use Duck Brand duct tape. The fashionable winners receive $5,000 scholarships. Though this application takes hours and hours of manpower, for a majority of scholarships, it's as easy as giving your opinion.

"It would be more like the essay scholarships, that is, only asking you to answer a question, and if they like the way you answered the question, they would consider you in the applicant pool," Roberts said.

Were you born in '94, '95 or '96?? wants you to write an essay related to the year you were born for awards of $1994, $1995 and $1996 each.

The easiest way to find scholarships that you qualify for is through free search engines like

Whether you think you qualify for financial aid, Roberts said every student should fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA because it can link you to scholarships and other aid opportunities.